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Anjuman-i-Wazin-i-Bangla


Anjuman-i-Wazin-i-Bangla a socio-religio-political organisation founded in Calcutta in 1911 by Maulana Abu Bakr Siddique (1859-1939), the Pir Sahib of Furfura (Hughli), Moulavi Wahed Hossain, and Munshi Sk Abdur Rahim, editor of the Mihir-o-Sudhakar. Maulana Abu Bakr Siddique was the chief patron of the Anjuman and its life president. After his death (1939), his son Maulana Abdul Hai became its president. Moslem Hitaisi, Islam-Darshan, Hanafi, Shariate Islam, and Chhunnat-al-Jamait were mouthpieces of the Anjuman.

The aims and objects of the Anjuman were to unite the Hanafi-Ulama of Bengal at a platform, to preach the principles of Shariah, and to teach the Muslims of Bengal real Islamic customs. Along with these objectives were included religious preaching, social reform, and service for the development of the Muslim nation. The Anjuman declared that it would participate in all religious, social and political movements according to the direction of the HOLY QURAN and HADITH and would not follow any ethics or policy of any particular organisation or any community.

The Anjuman appointed a large number of religious preachers, both paid and non-paid, to propagate its objectives. These preachers frequently visited district towns and rural areas of Bengal and delivered lectures regarding the Islamic way of life, and urged Muslims to say their prayers regularly, to abstain from un-Islamic practices like Shirk-Bidat, and to reject usury, bribery and the practice of dowry. During visits they founded many Maktabs-Madrasas, Arbitration boards for mutual settlement of litigation among rural Muslims, Bait-ul-mal funds, and youth organisations in different areas of Bengal.

In addition, they preached Islam among non-Muslims and attempted to resist the Quadiany and Christian missionary activities. In addition to these functions, Anjuman leaders and preachers, particularly, Maulana Ruhul Amin (the chief preacher), Moulavi Abdul Karim, and Moulavi Ibrahim wrote many books and published articles in Islam Darshan, Shariat, and Shariate Islam against the doctrines of Quadiany Muslims. At the same time, they were critical of Ulamas belonging to Mohammadi and Ahle Hadith groups, particularly Maulana mohammad akram khan, the editor of the Mohammadi. Sometimes they entered into debate (bahas) with rival Ulamas and tried to justify their doctrine as the only doctrine admitted by Allah. The Anjuman vehemently opposed performances such as singing and dancing, loud Zikir at the time of Urs, and Mela held in Maizbhandar (Chittagong), Sureshwar, and other places of Bengal, on the occasion of the birth and death anniversary of the Pirs of Maizbhandary Tarika (doctrine). The Anjuman declared that such performances were not only un-Islamic but also Shirk and Bidat.

The Anjuman-i-Wazin-i-Bangla also participated actively in different political movements. The Anjuman's leaders and preachers played an important role in mobilizing Bengali Muslims in favour of the khilafat movement. They organised numerous meetings, and processions in town and rural areas of Bengal. But the Anjuman disagreed with some policies and programmes of the movement formulated by the Central Khilafat Committee and the Congress. Programmes such as Hartals, burning of foreign clothes, and the raising of popular slogans like Hindu-Muslim ki jay, Mahatma Gandhi ki jay were strongly opposed by the Anjuman. It declared that there was no sanction regarding these in the Shariah. However, the Anjuman supported the bengal pact (1923). It was against the boycott of Simon Commission (1928) and against the civil disobedience movement (1930) and its programmes.

In the election of 1937, the Anjuman and its leaders tried to mobilize Muslims to vote against krishak praja party candidates. Maulana Abu Bakr Siddique, then president of the Anjuman, issued fatwa urging the Muslims to vote for muslim league candidates. Later, the Anjuman and its followers worked in support of the movement for Pakistan (1940-47). Maulana Abdul Hai, son of Maulana Abu Bakr Siddique, took the leadership of this movement. But after the death of Maulana Abu Bakr Siddique in 1939, the Anjuman ceased to be active. Most of the leaders and activists of Anjuman-i-Wazin-i-Bangala started to work in Ulama Associations like Jamiat-i-Ulama-i-Bangla and Assam, and Jamiat-i-Ulama-i-Islam. It is not known whether the Anjuman functioned at all later. [Sunil Kanti Dey]