previous sub-section
New Medinas
next section


1. See the forthcoming volume under the editorship of Muhammad Khalid Masud on Tabligh activities throughout the world, in particular, the articles by Marc Gaborieau, on the international spread of Tabligh; S. H. Azmi, on Tabligh in Canada; and Philip Lewis, on Britain. The volume is based on a workshop on the Tablighi Jama‘at organized by the Joint Committee on the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies of the Social Science Research Council / American Council of Learned Societies and convened by James Piscatori at the Royal Commonwealth Society, London, June 1990. [BACK]

2. For general background to the Tablighi Jama‘at in the Indian subcontinent, see Haq 1972, Lokhandwala 1971, Metcalf 1982, Nadwi 1948, Troll 1985, and Wahiduddin Khan 1986. [BACK]

3. For an attempt to use scientific precision in estimating participation at the Raiwind meeting, see Qurashi 1986. [BACK]

4. In this regard the forthcoming work of two doctoral students is particularly important. Mariam Ghalmi is currently preparing a dissertation at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales on the subject of the relationship of the Nadwatu’l-‘Ulama to the Tabligh. Ahmed Mukarram, at Oxford University, is studying Maulana Abu’l- Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi himself. [BACK]

5. See among Maulana Nadwi’s writings Na’i dunya men saf saf baten (Speaking Plainly to the West) (Lucknow: Majlis-i-Tahqiqat wa Nashriyyat-i-Islam, 1978) and Muslims in the West: The Message and Mission (Leicester, Eng.: Islamic Foundation, 1983). [BACK]

6. For references to other “tabligh” movements, see Siddiqi 1986. On the Ahmadiyya, see Friedmann 1989. Both Khalid Masud and Marc Gaborieau have pointed out that no one has studied the possibility of Ahmadi influence on other transnational movements. [BACK]

7. I am grateful to Philip Lewis for arranging my visit to Bradford and accompanying me to Dewsbury in June 1991. [BACK]

8. I am grateful to Syed Zainuddin (Aligarh University, India) and Muhammad Talib (Jamia Millia, New Delhi, India) for their firsthand descriptions of the ijtima‘ they attended in 1990. [BACK]

9. At issue in a more extensive study of women participants would be the question of whether women’s themes and interpretations differ systematically from those of men. For a study of the differing ideologies of women and men in a (far different kind of) religious movement, see Bacchetta, forthcoming. [BACK]

10. In the 1960s, for example, President Mohammed Ayub Khan is reported to have directed his officials to cooperate with Tabligh activities, regarding them, unlike those of the politically oriented Islamic movements, as desirable. [BACK]

11. The inability of Westerners to distinguish among Islamic groups is exemplified by the case of Lieutenant General Javed Naser, an active participant in Tabligh, who was appointed head of Inter Services Intelligence in Pakistan in March 1992, but was removed some months later as part of Pakistani efforts to ensure that the United States, apparently on the verge of declaring Pakistan a terrorist state, did not panic at the sight of his beard (Newsline, March–April 1992, p. 97). With thanks to Syed Vali Nasr for this and other clippings. [BACK]

12. For a study of typological or mythical thinking within the Christian tradition, see Frye 1982. [BACK]

13. It would, for example, seem plausible to argue that in the late-nineteenth-century chronicle Pandey discusses (1990), the zamindar was in fact very much a product of the colonial culture. We know that he was involved in conversations taking place at the local middle school, and we can speculate, at least, that he was directing his account to local officials and representing himself and his class as the people who had the town’s interests at heart. Similarly, the weaver, author of a diary Pandey studies, far from being untouched, is himself the head (sardar) of an upwardly mobile crafts group identifying themselves no longer as julaha (“weaver,” a category so humble that the term is also glossed “blockhead”) but as nurbaf (“weaver of light,” a positive term of Persian, hence learned, etymology). [BACK]

previous sub-section
New Medinas
next section