Indian Islahi Centre Jeddah (IICJ), an organization of Keralite expatriates, was formed in the year1982. It is one of tens of Indian Islahi Centres functioning in different gulf countries.
Propagation of Qur’an (the last testament revealed to prophet Mohamed , peace be upon him) and Sunnah (the teachings of the prophet) among the Muslim and non-Muslim communities living in various countries across continents through cooperation with similar organizations.
Da’wa (call to Islam) and charity activities among the Keralite Muslim community living in Jeddah and enabling them follow Qur’an and Sunna in their true forms.
Indian Islahi Centres in the gulf countries were formed during the last three decades. All these Centres keenly observe the rules and regulations of the countries where they function and cooperate with various Da’wa Centres in those countries. These Centres also work in close cooperation with their parent organization in Kerala, Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen, which is a daughter of the Islahi Movement in Kerala that dates back to the early part of the twentieth century.
Islahi Movement in Kerala
Kerala is one of the 29 states in India, located to the southern tip of the peninsula, with the Arabian sea to its west. It has a population of 31.8 million people.
Historians suggest that Islam reached Kerala during Prophet Mohammed’s (SA) period itself, and it was spread by preachers who visited Kerala regularly for business maintaining a healthy relationship with the people out there. As trade and commerce between Kerala and Arabia grew, many traders settled down in the state and the interaction between those traders and local people helped in Islam taking its roots along the coastline of Kerala.
Kerala Muslims of the 19th and the early 20th century were a very backward and ignorant society. They by large gave up the Islamic principles, and deviated from the path of ‘Thouheed’ (monotheism), which is the essence of Islamic faith. The Muslim society as a whole had fallen into the hands of those who created ‘Bid-aa’ (innovations in beliefs or acts), and there was no formal religious education system existing in the society. Qur'an was not taught as a message and guidance from Allah to be understood and practiced in life. It was simply considered a holy book, recitation of which would bring prosperity to the reader and cure diseases, and they didn’t go beyond that. Women were strongly discouraged from acquiring any kind of formal education. A majority of the Muslims were illiterate.
There were individuals who worked for the social reforms in the Muslim society of this period and the notable scholars who worked towards this goal were Sanaulla Makthi Thangal, KM Jamaluddin Moulavi, Chalilakath Kunhahammed Haji, and Wakkam Abdul Qadar Moulavi. These scholars and the like-minded people later formed an organization called ‘Kerala Muslim Aikya Sangham’ in 1922 and this served as the corner stone of Islahi Movement in Kerala. But, ‘Kerala Muslim Aikya Sangham’ had a short life span and it ceased functioning by 1933. However, Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema, an organization comprised of scholars, was formed in 1924. Other organizations like ‘Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM)’, ‘Ithihadu Shubbanul Mujahideen (ISM)’, ‘Mujahid Students’ Movement (MSM)’ and ‘Muslim Girls’ & Women’s Movement (MGM)’ were formed later. All these organizations worked for propagating the true religion among the Kerala Muslims and also encouraged them to go for education. Several educational institutions were established to realize the goal.
Programs for the social reforms undertaken by Islahi Movement: ‘Madrasa Movement’ was one of the most important and widely appreciated programs brought about by the Islahi movement. An education board was setup, and under the board ‘Madrasas’ or religious schools were started in various parts of the state in a meticulous way with modern amenities. Establishment of Arabic colleges was another important step. Arabic colleges offered courses, which were tailor made to cater to the needs of the people who wanted to acquire in-depth knowledge in Arabic language, and Islamic studies. These Arabic colleges were recognized by the governments and affiliated to universities. Inspirations behind the establishment of major educational institutions like Farook College, and Thangal Kunju Musliar (TKM) College of Engineering, PSMO College Tirurangadi, were actually the Islahi Movement. Delivering Friday sermons in local languages (it was only in Arabic before), encouraging women to attend Masjids and to acquire education (both material and spiritual), publishing Qur'an translations and periodicals, conducting conferences and study camps etc., were the other major programs undertaken by the movement. It took strong stand on the issues like dowry, and portrayed them as ‘social evils’, and called upon the community to distance itself from such un-Islamic practices. Islahi Movement started ‘Zakat Funds’ to distribute ‘zakats’ to the needy in a centralized way. Along with conducting Qur'an classes, delivering lectures, public speeches, organizing study camps, conducting campaigns against fascism, terrorism, AIDS, intoxicants etc., the ISM (the youth wing of Islahi Movement) volunteers are involved in relief and social welfare activities such as construction of roads, houses and bus waiting shelters, distributing life saving medicines free of cost to the eligible, providing medical aid, conducting medical camps, formation of blood donation forum and tree plantation. Distribution of scholarships, free tuition centers, adoption of poor students, distribution of awards, minority coaching centers, career guidance, counseling, etc. are some of the activities done by these organizations. A separate committee called PEACE (Program on Education And Career Enhancement) has been set up for giving proper guidance to young students. Periodic camps for selected students are conducted aiming their overall development. The ‘Quran Learning School’ (QLS) was introduced by the committee in 1996. This has got wide recognition and attracted all kinds of people including house wives, businessmen and professionals. The school is meant for adults to learn Qur'an word by word. ISM has brought out an encyclopedia called “ISLAM in 5 volumes” through its publishing house called ‘Yuvatha’. ISM publishes a weekly periodical called “Shabab" www.shababweekly.net