New Delhi: Saudi Arabia has banned the Islamic movement Tablighi Jamaat, calling it a “danger to society” and “one of the gates of terrorism”.
The country’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs has called upon its mosques to allocate the next Friday sermon to warn against the group’s “misguidance, deviation and danger”.
“Dr Abdullatif Al Al Sheikh directed the mosques’ preachers and the mosques that held Friday prayer temporary to allocate the next Friday sermon 5/6/1443 H to warn against (the Tablighi and Da’wah group) which is called (Al Ahbab),” the ministry tweeted.
It added that the sermon should include a declaration of the “misguidance, deviation and danger of this group”.
It further said people should be told that it is “one of the gates of terrorism, even if they claim otherwise”. In addition, the sermon should mention their “most prominent mistakes”, which is that they are a “danger to society” and issue a statement that “affiliation with partisan groups, including (the Tablighi and Da’wah Group) is prohibited in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.
According to an article in The Week, Saudi religious leaders have for a long time viewed the Tablighi Jamaat as “deviants”. The former grand mufti Abdul Azeez ibn Baaz in 2012 had said that it was not permissible to “go out with them”, because they are “deviants”, except to disapprove their activities.
The literal meaning of Tablighi Jamaat is a society for spreading the faith. It is a Sunni Islamic missionary movement, which focuses on exhorting Muslims and encouraging them to practice their faith, stressing in matters of ritual, dress and personal behaviour.
In March last year, the group came to light during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. The group members were accused of holding an illegal gathering in Delhi, which was being linked to the spread of the pandemic. The central government had in fact blamed the group for the spike in cases, after its members were found to have travelled across the country.
However, the group members were later exonerated by a Delhi court, which in December last year acquitted all 36 foreign nationals who were facing trial for allegedly breaking Covid protocols and contributing to the spread of the pandemic.