Hyderabad, April 8 : A split in the Tablighi Jamaat, a couple of years ago, might have saved many lives as more people would have thronged the organisation's Delhi headquarters, which has emerged as the country's biggest coronavirus vector.
The 94-year-old outfit suffered a vertical split globally, and those opposed to the organisation's current chief Maulana Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi's policies parted ways.
Had there been no split, the number of visitors to Nizamuddin Markaz, the organisation's headquarters, would have been much more, a Jamaat member told IANS. "It would have been a packed house. Thousands more would have visited the Markaz and there could have been more fatalities or positive cases," he said.
Nearly a third of over 5,000 Covid-19 cases in the country are linked to the Tablighi congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz on March 13-15.
Maulana Saad is in the eye of storm over holding the meeting without permission from authorities. Hundreds of members of Jamaat from various parts of the country and a large number of foreigners attended the event.
The differences in Tablighi Jamaat had cropped up two years ago when Maulana Saad dissolved 'Shura', the highest decision-making council. This body that followed a consultative mechanism had existed since Jamaat's formation in 1926.
Moulana Saad, great grandson of Jamaat's founder Moulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalvi, scrapped 'Shura' whose many members had grown old. "Till then Jamaat took all major decisions with 'mashvera' (consultation). As Maulana Saad started taking decisions in an arbitrary manner, it created resentment among seniors and many members formed another faction, which called itself Shura," he said.
Jamaat members say the majority of the cadres are now with Shura, headed by a group of senior members.
Banglewali Masjid in Nizamuddin, also called Markaz, and many existing regional head offices of Jamaat remained with Maulana Saad's group, while the rebel group set up new centres.
In Hyderabad, for instance, Maulana Saad's group continued to function from the Mallepally mosque, the rival group started operating from a mosque in the Nampally area.
Like Nizamuddin, the Mallepally mosque here attracts jamaats or groups of preachers from various parts of India and abroad.
Ten Indonesians, who had reached Telangana's Karimnagar town after visiting Nizamuddin in mid-March, were found positive for Covid-19. Two groups from Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan were found in the Mallepally mosque and they were quarantined.
The Tablighi Jamaat was established in Haryana's Mewat by Maulana Muhammad Ilyas in 1926 to encourage Muslims to practice Islam the way it's believed to have been practiced at the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Tablighi Jamaat works only among Muslims. They stay away from politics and controversies and confine themselves to the single-point agenda of inviting ordinary Muslims to namaz and Tabligh or preaching.