India Must Act Urgently Against Wahhabi Organisations

India Must Act Urgently Against Wahhabi Organisations


By Tufail Ahmad, New Age Islam, 14 Dec 2015

With the radicalization of Muslim youths increasing in India, it is time for the Indian government to develop an administrative mechanism to monitor the growth of various Islamic institutions – mosques, madrasas, trusts, dargahs (Sufi shrines), khanqahs (monasteries), societies, religious publishing houses, or educational institutes. My argument here is not to look at them with suspicion but to locate them and their leadership, and identify their sources of domestic and foreign funding, on a regular basis. It can be done easily and quickly through the use of a dedicated website for this purpose. Over the past few years, concerns have grown in India that Saudis are funding a number of Wahhabi institutions in the country to counter Iran’s influence.

In an article dated November 2, 2007, Islamic affairs expert Yoginder Sikand defined the Wahhabis in the following terms: “In the Indian context, broadly speaking, the term ‘Wahhabi’ is loosely used by a group of Muslims known as the Barelvis and other defendants of the cults of the shrines of the Sufi saints, to refer to two other groups who also claim to be Sunnis: the Deobandis and the Ahl-e Hadith (henceforth AH). Many Deobandis also refer to the AH as Wahhabis.”As per theological principles, Wahhabis are totally opposed to “innovation” in Islam and therefore their version of Islam is extremely orthodox and obscurantist.

According to a report dated August 1, 2014 by journalist Vicky Nanjappa, the Wahhabi organisations in India are attracting funding from Saudi Arabia. The report also noted that the number of Wahhabi followers in India is 1.8 million, a figure that appears grossly underestimated. Nanjappa quoted a report of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) explaining the vast amounts of money being spent in India to promote Wahhabism: about Rs. 8 billion was being spent on setting up four Wahhabi universities; 40 mosques were constructed at a cost of Rs. 4 billion; Rs. 3 billion was spent on setting up madrasas and another Rs. 1 billion on the upkeep of existing mosques.

Nanjappa further wrote: “The radical Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, which first set up base in Kashmir, is spearheading Wahhabi operations across India. Having persuaded around 400 mosques in Kashmir to follow its ideology, the Wahhabis have now targeted Maharashtra and Kerala. Although the Maharashtra government is in denial about the rise of Wahhabism in the state, Wahhabis control over 40 mosques in Maharashtra. Wahhabis have taken over at least 75 mosques in Kerala.”

A second report by Vicky Nanjappa dated June 25, 2015 observed: “The years 2011 to 2013 alone saw a record number of 25,000 Wahhabis coming to India and conducting seminars in various parts of the country. With them they brought in Rs. 1,700 crore in several instalments and used it to propagate the Wahhabi style of Islam.”

In June this year, whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released Saudi diplomatic cables that shed fresh light on the extent of Saudi Arabia’s role in spreading Wahhabism in India. As per the WikiLeaks revelations, the Saudis are concerned about the Iranian influence among Shia Muslims in India, who are estimated to constitute the largest Shia population outside Iran.

As per a July 1, 2015 media report, quoting the Saudi diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks, “The government of Saudi Arabia itself pledged donations to nine such [Wahhabi] institutions located across different states, including Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra.” It added: “Saudi Arabia pledged 4.5 million Saudi Riyal (SR) to different institutions in Kerala only. Similarly, In Uttar Pradesh, 75,000 SR were pledged to two different societies for establishing a madrasa building and a vocational centre for girls.” The WikiLeaks revelations also highlighted what is already known to Muslims in India: the Secretariat General of the Muslim World League based in Mecca funds and promotes Wahhabi groups in India.

The July 1 report quoted an unidentified official of the Ministry of Home Affairs as saying: “There is no doubt that Wahhabism is getting stronger in the country, especially in Kerala, mainly because of the radicalisation of a large number of local youth who are going to Saudi Arabia in search of employment. Kerala has been showing signs of sharp radicalisation. This was the only state where posters mourning the death of Osama Bin Laden had come up and a prayer for Ajmal Kasab was also held after he was hanged [for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks].”

The problem of Wahhabism is compounded by the fact that non-Muslim government officials, due to their lack of knowledge of Islam, are bound not to notice which mosques and madrasas belong to the Wahhabi sect. Across India, all mosques and madrasas are controlled by clerics who are ideologically affiliated to some or the other sect of Islam. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Indian government to ensure that every mosque, madrasa or religious institution is registered with the government in the same way as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are registered.

Currently, Islamic organisations – mosques, madrasas, societies, dargahs (Sufi shrines), khanqahs (monasteries), trusts, religious publishing houses, or educational institutes – are operating in a dark alley. All these organisations should be required to file a quarterly report to the government via a dedicated website. Their quarterly reports uploaded on such a government website must contain the names of their leaders and their educational qualifications, the location of their headquarters and branch offices, and their geographic areas of operations. The quarterly reports filed by these institutions of various Islamic sects must also mention their domestic and foreign incomes. My argument here is not to prevent these institutions from engaging in their activities but to enable them to work in a transparent manner.

Tufail Ahmad is Director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC.


New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteRadical Islamism and Jihad, Radical Islamism, WahhabimosqueumadradargahkhanqahMadrasa



  • GRD writes to Dr M A Haque

    Sultan Shahin, Editor New Age Islam
    By Naseer Ahmed – 12/17/2015 4:17:38 AM

  • Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111), considered the greatest of all theologians, and by many as next only to Prophet Mohammad in his understanding of Islam:Imam Ibn Taymiyya (1263 – 1328) Most revered Hanbali jurist and scholar among Wahhabi-Salafi Muslims whose influence has recently grown immensely with the propagation of his creed by the Saudi monarchy:Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564-1624) – Indian Islamic scholar, Hanafi jurist, considered Mujaddid alf-e-Saani, the renewer of Islam of the second millennium:2. “Kufr and Islam are opposed to each other. The progress of one is possible only at the expense of the other and co-existences between these two contradictory faiths is unthinkable.4. “The real purpose in levying Jizya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that, on account of fear of Jizya, they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling.(Excerpted from Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Agra, Lucknow: Agra University, Balkrishna Book Co., 1965), pp.247-50; and Yohanan Friedmann, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An Outline of His Thought and a Study of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity (Montreal, Quebec: McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies, 1971), pp. 73-74.) “It is the duty of the prophet to establish the domination of Islam over all other religions and not leave anybody outside its domination whether they accept it voluntarily or after humiliation. Thus the people will be divided into three categories.(Hujjatullahu al-Balighah, volume – 1, Chapter- 69, Page No 289)“Even if the Muslims abstain from Shirk (polytheism) and are Muwahhid (believer in oneness of God), their Faith cannot be perfect unless they have enmity and hatred in their action and speech against non-Muslims. (Majmua Al-Rasael Wal-Masael Al-Najdiah 4/291)“Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam, regardless of the country or the nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of its own ideology and programme, regardless of which nation assumes the role of the standard-bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State.
  • Abul A’la Maududi (25 September 1903 – 22 September 1979):
  • Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, (1703 – 22 June 1792):
  • “(Lowly Kafir (unbelievers), have to be tasked with lowly labour works like harvesting, threshing, carrying of loads, for which animals are used. The messenger of God also imposes a law of suppression and humiliation on the Kafirs and imposes Jizya on them in order to dominate and humiliate them …. He does not treat them equal to Muslims in the matters of Qisas (Retaliation), Diyat (blood money), marriage and government administration so that these restrictions should ultimately force them to embarrass Islam.”
  • Shah Waliullah Dehlawi (1703–1762): Highly revered Indian scholar, theologian, Muhaddis and jurist.
  • 5.    “Whenever a Jew is killed, it is for the benefit of Islam.”
  • 3. “The honour of Islam lies in insulting Kufr and Kafirs. One, who respects Kafirs, dishonours the Muslims.”
  • 1. “…Cow-sacrifice in India is the noblest of Islamic practices.“
  • “Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought… As for the People of the Book and the Zoroastrians, they are to be fought until they become Muslims or pay the tribute (Jizya) out of hand and have been humbled. With regard to the others, the jurists differ as to the lawfulness of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful…”  (Excerpted from Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1996), pp. 44-54)
  •  “… one must go on jihad at least once a year…one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide… Christians and Jews must pay…on offering up the Jizya, the Dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits on the protuberant bone beneath his ear … they are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells… their houses may not be higher than a Muslim’s, no matter how low that is.  The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle is of wood.  He may not walk on the good part of the road.  They have to wear an identifying patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the baths… dhimmis must hold their tongue…” (Kitab Al-Wagiz FI Figh Madhad Al-Imam Al-Safi’i pp. 186, 190, 199-203)
  • Heed Pope Francis’ Exhortation to Find ‘Adequate Interpretation’ Of Holy Quran’s Contextual, Allegorical Verses, Sultan Shahin Asks the Global Muslim Community at UNHRC in Geneva
  • The sectarian or the ideological approach leads to many contradictions which only goes to underline the fact that ideology is only a component and the more important reasons are the geopolitics in the affected regions.
  • The Deobandi and the Ahle Hadith indeed have a clean record of their nationalism and in the Indian context, it is the Barelvi/Sufi who needs to be closely watched and monitored as they have a record of secession. J&K, a land of sufis, is also trying to secede. Pakistan at the time of its formation, had 96% Barelvi Sunnis and only 4% Ahle Hadith or Deobandi. This is not surprising since it was the Barelvis who migrated to Pakistan after partition and not the Deobandi or the Ahle Hadith who were opposed to partitioning. The same Pakistan has today become the epicenter for terrorism.
  • It was the Barelvi/Sufi who fought for partitioning and their leader Raza Ahmad Khan Barelvi was the first to moot the idea of Pakistan. He also refused to meet Gandhi as he was a “Hindu Leader”
  • It is a fact that the Deobandis and the Ahle hadith played an active role in the freedom movement of India. They were opposed to the partitioning of the country.
  • For reasons of geopolitics, if Saudi Arabia with a “Wahabi” monarchy has taken center stage in the wars in the ME and Afghanistan,  it does not in any way reflect on all “Wahabis” – not especially on the Ahle Hadith in India whom GRD continues to call Wahabi out of his sectarian spite although they do not call themselves so.
  • Shahin Sb, after validation of sources of information in which I helped him, had the following to say about Abdul Wahab and others in his address to the UNHRC.  You will notice that authenticated information on Abdul Wahab and others shows that Abdul Wahab’s views are less problematic than that of  Sufis like Imam Ghazali, Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Waliullah.
  • It is GRD who needs to check his sources of misinformation. GRD, in one of his articles, attributed to Abdul Wahab what Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi has said and did not retract even after his “error” was pointed out. It is he who is himself a source of spreading  deliberate misinformation.
  • “I think you need to check your sources of misinformation and research on the roots and origin of Wahhabism”.
  • Reference comment by GRD on my comment. It is easy to take selective portions from any source and ‘prove’ something.  Anyway that is not important. We may like Wahabi movement or not. It is a personal prerogative. But suggesting that only Muslim Institutions/Organizations should be compulsorily registered is totally unjustified. If the author was so concerned, he could ask for all such Institutions/Organizations to be registered. It is a known fact that other Institutions/Organizations are creating much more trouble than the Muslim Institutions/Organizations. So far there is no evidence against any Muslim Institution/Organization, only hearsay and claims by some rabid anti Muslim Organizations/Individuals.

    By Dr. M.A. Haque – 12/17/2015 2:50:56 AM

  • Dear Dr. M.A Haque,

    The menace of Wahhabism is a common knowledge now which continues to haunt many Muslim scholars of the world.

    In order to understand the extremist, xenophobic and intolerant influence Ibn Abdul Wahhab had, one has to understand the political context of the time in Saudi Arabia.

    I think you need to check your sources of misinformation and research on the roots and origin of Wahhabism.
    I suggest you to read a book (available in Urdu and originally in Arabic) that is very rich in its originality, objectivity and primary sources titled “Tarikh-e-Najd o Hijaz”.

    I am translating for you a few important paragraphs from this book below:

    “Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, carried out his mission in modern-day Saudi Arabia through the assistance of a political alliance of Ibn Saud”.

    “More than a century earlier,  this Saudi-Wahhabi alliance had
    succeeded in overcoming the defenses of Taif and Makkah and there
    ensued a blood-bath of truly astonishing proportions. The Wahhabis, in
    their fanatical zeal, considered the Muslims residents in the Hejaz to be
    Mushrikoon (i.e., a people guilty of the crime of blasphemy) and, as a
    consequence, held that it was permissible to kill them. The Caliph in
    Istanbul got the Mamluke Khedive of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, to send an
    army to the Hejaz under the leadership of his son Ismail. The
    Saudi-Wahhabi warriors were unceremoniously driven out of Hejaz and
    into the desert. A century later, however, there was no Caliph and all the
    powerful Muslim communities were under western colonial rule. In
    addition, Ibn Saud enjoyed the protecting friendship of Great Britain, the
    super-power of the day. There was, therefore, no immediate possibility”.

    “Although Ibn Saud was safely in control of Hejaz he was still confronted
    with a truly formidable problem at the commencement of his rule over the
    Hejaz in 1924. Namely, he had to devise some strategy that could avert the
    long-term possibility of a repetition of the disaster that visited the previous
    Saudi-Wahhabi rule over the Hejaz. It would appear that he first thought
    of a policy of conciliation with non-Wahhabi Muslims and of using his
    control over the Hejaz to further the cause of the unity of the Ummah.
    Thus shortly after gaining control over Makkah and receiving from its
    inhabitants their recognition of him as Sultan of the Hejaz, he issued a
    proclamation to the entire world of Islam to the effect that the Hejaz, with
    its Haramain, belonged to the entire world of Islam and that he, Ibn Saud,
    held control over the Hejaz as a trust only, and on behalf of the entire
    world of Islam. <4> He then went on to invite the entire world of Islam to
    send its representatives to Makkah so that, on the basis of Shura
    (consultation) and Ijma (consensus), a just, efficient and representative
    administration could be established over the Hejaz.” (Tarikh-e-Najd o Hijaz, page 22)

    By GRD – 12/16/2015 1:32:41 PM

  • Sitting in USA it is very easy to talk about anything, especially against Muslims and Muslim Institutions in India. The Western media adore such persons as they get easy ‘evidences’ against Muslims and Muslim Organizations/Institutions. It seems that the author is not aware of the procedure how foreign funds reach Indian organizations. The process is fully controlled by the Central Govt. If they have anything against, they can stop fund transfer and even prosecute the Organizations/Institutions. Just quoting anonymous sources and media reports are old ploys to malign Muslims and Muslim Institutions/Organizations. Asking for registration of all Institutions is unjustified. It will simply give handle to the Govt. persons to extract money from the Institutions. On the one hand Govt. of India is doing away with many types of registrations, even in case of profit organizations like industries etc. and Mr
    Tufail Ahmad wants one more registration process to be added and that too for only Muslim Institutions.
    Also, it is evident that Mr. Tufail Ahmad does not know what is Wahabism. If he is aware, he should tell in clear words what is his grievance against Wahabi thinking .
    For his convenience, I am giving below a short account of Wahabism. He should try to understand the term.
    There is a lot of ignorance and misconception about the term “Wahhabi” isn’t there? I find it truly sad that a lot, and I mean a lot, of Muslims just blindly mimic what they see and hear without even making the slightest effort to find out for themselves what the truth actually is.
    This name, “Wahhabi” is based upon the misconception that Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab had come with a new religion or a new form of Islam which opposed the accepted norms of the religion. But do you actually know who Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab was? Do you know who this man was, what exactly he called towards, and what he wrote about?
    When writing his works and in giving his da’wah, he concentrated on bringing the people back to the correct Tawheed and adherence to the following of the Sunnah. As he was reviving the message of the Prophets, he faced many obstacles and hardships and was severely opposed for bringing about this call.He only became famous for his defense of this creed because he came at a time when these false practices were so widespread that he was essentially alone in his defense of the truth.The Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy ones of every generation; they will expel from it the alterations made by those going beyond bounds, the false claims of the liars and the false interpretations of the ignorant.” [Authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Mishkaat – (no. 248)] And do you know something else?And to use this Name in a derogatory term against a person and a people who only establish Tawheed? It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your own face. Because you’re mocking a people with the Names of Allaah. Is it not foolish?

    By Dr. M.A. Haque – 12/16/2015 4:32:52 AM

  • It is extremely idiotic of the people who coined the term “Wahabi” because Al-Wahhab is one of the lofty Names of Allaah. Al-Wahhab means The Bestower and Abdul-Wahhab means Slave of The Bestower.
  • Shaykh ul-Islam Muhammd ibn Abdul-Wahhab was but a reformer of the religion who aided the deen of Allaah and purified Islam from unauthentic elements.
  • To this day, he is seen in many parts of the Muslim world as a deviant who had aimed to alter the religion of Islam. This is a baseless lie, as can be seen if you would read his books, which are well documented and widely available, even in the English language. Most of his books are compilations of texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah with a minimal amount of his own wording between them.
  • Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab was a scholar who called towards Tawheed and the Sunnah, just like the thousands who had already preceded him upon goodness. His creed was the same as theirs, exactly as that of the Four Imaams and others of the righteous Salaf.
  • Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab was a scholar of Islam who was born on the Arabian Peninsula about 200 years ago, at a time when the religious practices of the people therein contained polytheism, superstitions and sanctification of the saints and graves, all of which are in clear opposition to the Islamic texts.
  • There is no such thing as a sect or group of Muslims who call themselves Wahabis. Who are they? What are their beliefs & their legislations? There are none. It’s just an offensive term used as an insult. It is only a lame mockery about one of the greatest scholars of Islam; Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab.
  • It also says: “The Wahabi (Salafi) movement gave a number of towering personalities to the nation. Shah Ismail, Syed Ahmad, Wilayat Ali, Inayat Ali, Mian Syed Nazir Hussain, Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan of Bhopal, Sir Syed, Mualana Sanaullah Amritsari and Abul Kalam Azad. This galaxy forms the brightest chapter of our freedom struggle. The first commander of the patriot warriors of the pioneer movement was the great Wahabi (Ahle Hadeeth) leader Shah Ismail Shaheed and when the movement reached its point of culmination, it was again a great Wahabi (Ahle Hadeeth) leader (Abul Kalam Azad) who negotiated the transfer of power with the British.” (The Salafis, P.204-205, A.Q.Naqvi, Al Kitab Int. New Delhi, 2001). The freedom fighter from Jamate Ahle Hadeeth like Maulana Abdul Qayyum Rahmani is still alive.
    By GRD – 12/15/2015 6:35:51 AM
  • The official website of The Ahle Hadeeth or the Salafis, popularly but contemptuously referred to as the Wahabis, are a constituent group of Sunni Muslims. They adhere to the pristine teachings of Islam as enshrined in the Holy Quran and Sunnah (the precepts, practices and approvals of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and reject what has not been enjoined by the Islamic Shariah. The Ahle Hadeeths or the Salafis believe in pristine Monotheism (Tauheed Khalis), turn to Allah seeking His Mercy and don’t invoke Saint’s blessings. They do not stick to any of the Sectarian Jurisprudence (fiqh).although they are given due respect. Since they adhere to the pristine teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, they have their distinct identity among Muslims.
    By GRD – 12/15/2015 6:35:27 AM
  • Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees Hind itself proclaims:
  • From the present situation i fear to think about future.What will happen if rising radicalization of Muslim youths is not stopped. On world basis no such personality is seen in Islam who can mould Muslim’s mind set leaned towards terrorism to revert on right Islam to work for peace right jihad purity nonviolence refors etc.Sharia laws are no longer relivent now.So finish it & started to be guided by states’s laws and where under Islam based govt runs must to emphasis should be attached to reform for better liberal educated democratic Muslim society to be proved better assets to humanity & the world.Govt’s works are insensitive & lethargic to initiate any good things as suggested either in the interest of Muslim & natio.
    By Rabindra Kumar Jha – 12/15/2015 4:50:08 AM
  • No influx of foreign funds should be allowed from countries which do not treat women and religious minorities as equals.

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