Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dar ul-Qalam: A Barelvi publishing house with a difference

by Yoginder Sikand from the Network

A significant number of South Asian Muslims are associated with what can be loosely defined as the Barelvi tradition, named after the late nineteenth century defender of the cults of the Sufi shrines Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi. In contrast to various South Asian reformist Islamic groups and movements, the Barelvi tradition is loosely organized, lacking the strong network of institutions of other Muslim groupings. Barelvi ulema have, by and large, been loath to work with ulema of other Muslim groups, seeing many of these as 'Wahhabi' and 'anti-Islam' ... Maulana Yasin Akhtar Misbahi, leading Indian Barelvi scholar, recommends that the ulema themselves learn English, Hindi and other languages so as to directly communicate with people of other faiths through their writings ... the purpose of dialogue is not just to communicate to others. Rather, the Maulana says, the ulema should also be willing to learn about what others feel and believe. As of now, he says, there is little interaction between the ulema and people of other faiths.

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