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Darul Uloom Deoband

Darul Uloom Deoband
دارالعلوم دیوبند
दारुल उलूम देवबंद
Established 31 May 1866
Type Islamic university
Chancellor Majlis-e-Shoora
Vice-Chancellor Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani
Location Deoband Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

The Darul Uloom Deoband (Hindi: दारुल उलूम देवबन्द, Urdu: دارالعلوم دیوبند‎, Arabic: الجامعة الإسلامية دار العلوم بديوبند‎) is the Darul uloom Islamic school in India where the Deobandi Islamic movement began. It is located at Deoband, a town in Saharanpur district, Uttar Pradesh. The school was founded in 1866 by the ulema (Islamic scholars) Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi and 'Abid Husaiyn.


  • Foundation 1
  • Program 2
  • Role in the Indian independence movement 3
  • Fatwas and controversy 4
  • Alumni 5
  • Publications 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


In 1857, the British East India Company quashed the independence movement of north Indians acting under the name of Bahadur Shah Zafar. In 1858, Zafar, the last Mughal emperor was exiled. This marked a seminal moment for Islamic consciousness in India, especially for the established Muslim elites of north India. The defeat of 1857 was seen as the end of their political pre-eminence and the beginning of a dark period of Muslim history in India.

In 1283 AH (21 May 1866 CE), a group of theologians led by Muhammad Qasim Nanautawi, established the Darul ‘Uloom Seminary in Deoband. Their aim was to preserve the Islamic culture and educate the children and the youth in the knowledge of Islam. Nanautawi said he was inspired by a dream in which Muhammad spoke to him.[1] The founders kept the seminary separate from political influence. Instead, it was to be supported by voluntary contributions.


The school teaches manqulat (revealed Islamic sciences) according to the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. In this seminary, Nanautawi instituted modern methods of learning such as teaching in classrooms, a fixed and carefully selected curriculum, lectures by academics who were leaders in their fields, exam periods, merit prizes, and a publishing press. Students were taught in Urdu, and sometimes in Arabic for theological reasons or Persian, for cultural and literary reasons. The curriculum is based on a highly modified version of the 17th century Indo-Islamic syllabus known as Dars-e-Nizami. The students learn the Quran and its exegesis; Hadith and its commentary; and juristic rulings with textual and rational proofs. They also study the biography of Muhammad, Arabic grammar, language and literature, and Farsi (Persian).[2]

The syllabus consists of several stages. The five-year Nazirah (primary course) teaches Urdu, Persian, Hindi and English. The next level is the Hifze Quran. This involves the memorization of the Quran over two to four years. A few students will then choose Tajwid e Hafs (melodious recitation). The student is taught the detailed recitation rules of the Quran as laid down by Qari Hafs. Still fewer will take up the next course, the Sab'ah and 'Asharah Qira'at (study of all the ten Quran recitations.

A post graduate studies equivalent is the Fazilat course taken over eight years. It commences with Arabi Awwal and finishes with Daura e Hadith. A prerequisite for this course is completion of primary education. Memorization of the Quran is also recommended. Students who complete the Fazilat may use the title Alim or Maulvi. The Daurae Hadith (final year) class is taught in the basement of the large Masjid Rasheed (Rasheed Mosque) which was constructed in the style of the Taj Mahal. In the 2012 - 2013 academic year (1434 AH), 1063 students attended the Daurae Hadith class.

Almost a quarter of the students who complete the Daurae Hadith continue their studies. These advanced courses include Takmil Ifta (Jurisprudence); Takmil Adab (Arabic literature); and Takhassus fil Hadith (Hadith).[3] Students who complete the Takmil Ifta take the title Mufti.

Role in the Indian independence movement

The political ideals of Darul-Uloom Deoband were founded up to ten years prior to the opening of the seminary. In 1857 (AH 1274), Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (a spiritual leader) and his followers, Muhammad Yaqoob Nanautavi and Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi and others, gathered at Thana Bhawan in violent protest to English rule then continued their call for the independence of India.

In 1913 AD (1333 HD), Nanautavi's pupil, Mahmud al-Hasan was a leader in the independence movement. He incited revolution through a scheme which the Rowlatt committee called the Silken Letters. However, the scheme failed and al-Hasan and his followers were arrested and exiled. In 1920 AD (1338HD), al-Hasan was returned from exile in Malta. His group, Jami'atul-Ulama, which included Husain Ahmad Madani, Kifayatullah Dehlavi, Fakhrud-Deen Ahmad, and later on, Hifzur Rahman, Ateequr-Rahman Usmani, Minnatullah Rahmani, Habibur-Rahman Ludhyanvi, and Muhammad Miyan Deobandi joined with the Indian National Congress. In 1926 AD (1345 HD) and 1927 AD (1346 HD), graduates of the school called for Indian independence at Jami'atul-Ulama meetings in Calcutta and Peshawar. Madani opposed the suggestion of the All-India Muslim League for the partition of India along sectarian lines. He also advocated democratic government with religious freedoms and tolerance.[4][5][6]

On 29 December 1929 AD, Majlis-e-Ahrar-ul-Islam (Majlis-e-Ah'rãr-e-Islam,Urdu: مجلس احرارلأسلام‎, or Ahrar), a conservative Sunni Muslim Deobandi political party was founded in Lahore, Punjab, . The founding members of the party were Chaudhry Afzal Haq, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi, Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Dawood Ghaznavi.[7] The founding members were disillusioned by the Khilafat Movement, which had aligned with the Indian National Congress.[8] The party gathered support from the urban lower-middle class. It opposed Muhammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the All-India Muslim League and it objected to the persecution of the Ahmadiyya religious community.[9]

In 1969 AD (1389 HD), Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the Pashtun independence activist, addressed the students of the school and said, "I have had relation with Darul-Uloom since the time the Shaikhul-Hind Maulana Mahmood Hasan was alive. Sitting here we used to make plans for the independence movement as to how we might drive away the English from this country and how we could make India free from the yoke of slavery of the English. This institution has made great efforts for the freedom of this country".

Fatwas and controversy

In January 2012, the school issued a fatwa (religious edict) calling for the author Salman Rushdie to be barred from entering India to attend a literature festival because he had offended Muslim sentiments.[10][11]

In May 2010, clerics from the school issued a fatwa stating that men and women cannot work together in public offices unless the women are properly clothed.[12][13][14]

In September 2013, the school issued a fatwa banning photography as un-Islamic.[15]

The spread of the Deobandi movement in the United Kingdom has produced some criticism concerning their views on interfaith dialogue and values like democracy or the rule of (secular) law. In September 2007 Andrew Norfolk of The Times published an article titled "the hardline takeover of British mosques" about the influence of the Deobandis whom the author called a "hardline islamic sect".[16]

In February 2008, an anti-terrorism conference, organized by the seminary, denounced all forms of terrorism.[17]


The school has links to national and international Islamic educational and theological organizations. Graduates of the school have established seminaries such as the Darul Uloom Sabeelus Salam in Hyderabad;[18] Camperdown, near Durban in South Africa; Darul 'Uloom Karachi, Jami'ah Ashrafiyah Lahore,;[19] Jami'ah Ziyaul-Qur'an (Al-Ma'ruf Bagh-Wali Masjid), Faisalabad; and Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Alumni of the school include,


The following journals and magazines are published under the aegis of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband and its alumni.

  • Al-Da'ee/Ad-Da'ee, Arabic monthly periodical.[20]
  • Maah Namah Darul ‘Uloom, Urdu monthly periodical.[21]
  • Aaeenah Darul ‘Uloom, Urdu fortnightly periodical.[22]

See also


  1. ^ "Knowledge, an odyssey, the historic journey." Accessed 6 August 2011.
  2. ^ " Qawaide Dakhilah."
  3. ^ "Regulations" Daraluloom
  4. ^ Ghazzali A. Islamic Pakistan: Illusions and Reality."
  5. ^ Jaffrelot C. and Beaumont G. A History of Pakistan and Its Origins. p224. ISBN 1-84331-149-6.
  6. ^ "Barelvi Islam."
  7. ^ Ahmad, N.Origins of Muslim consciousness in India: a world-system perspective. Greenwood Press, New York, 1991. p175.
  8. ^ Jaffrelot C.A history of Pakistan and its origins. Anthem Press, 2004. ISBN 1-84331-149-6, ISBN 978-1-84331-149-2.
  9. ^ Bahadur K. Democracy in Pakistan: crises and conflicts. Har Anand Publications 1998 p176.
  10. ^ "Darul Uloom Farangimahal fatwa Rushdie Jaipur visit.
  11. ^ Cleric seeks apology from Rushdie. Kashmir 19 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Young Muslim women fume at Deoband diktat." News-views.India.
  13. ^ "Deoband fatwa: It's illegal for women to work, support family." Times of 12 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Insurance policy is un-Islamic: Deoband." Express
  15. ^ "Times of India: Deoband issues fatwa banning photography as un-Islamic." 11 September 2013.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Muslim clerics declare terror "un-Islamic"" Times of India 25 February 2008.
  18. ^ In'amiyyah "Madrasah In'amiyyah"
  19. ^ "Welcome to Ashrafia Islamic University Lahore." 14 September 1947. Accessed 6 August 2011.
  20. ^ Ameeni K. (ed.) Al-Da'ee/Ad-Da'ee.
  21. ^ Qaasmi H. (ed.) Maah Namah Darul ‘Uloom.
  22. ^ 'Alwi K. (ed.) Aaeenah Darul ‘Uloom.

External links

  • Tabassum F. Deoband Ulema's Movement for the Freedom of India. Jamiat Ulama i-Hind, New Delhi, pdf at Attahawi blog, July 2007.
  • Darul ‘Uloom Deoband, India, official website.
  • Deoband movement website.
  • Darul ‘Uloom Deoband Indian mosques blog.
  • Khabrein Indian Muslim news and opinion website.
  • Deobandi Islam Global security organisation website.
  • Metcalf B. "Traditionalist" Islamic Activism: Deoband, Tablighis, and Talibs. Social Science Research Council, non-profit organisation, Brooklyn, New York.
  • ‘Ulama's progressive stand on Yoga, terrorism, other issues needs to be praised. Indscribe's Blog, February 2009.

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