The Tablighi Jamaat’s Contested Claims to Islamicity
The Faza'il-i-'Amal, Maulana Zakariyya's collection of stories that occupies such a central place in the TJ, is, alleges Umri, full of 'fanciful tales' that far surpass the imagination and make a complete mockery of the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions (ibid.:69—97). Ordinary Muslims are beguiled into believing that it is a book of Prophetic traditions, whereas it is actually only with great difficulty that one can find any authentic traditions in it (ibid.; 103). Despite this, he says, in the TJ the book is given a clear preference over the Qur'an itself. In Tablighi gatherings only the Faza'il-i-'Amal is allowed to be read out. According to Tablighi elders the Qur'an is meant for the understanding of only the 'ulama. Ordinary Muslims who do not possess the necessary skills in the Arabic language must rest content with just the Faza'il-i-'Amal or with merely reciting the Qur'an without understanding its meaning (ibid.: 100).