Deoband Madrassah movement: countercultural trends and tendencies

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis



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Deoband Madrassah Movement (DMM) has been interpreted mainly from two perspectives. The first perspective depicts it as a movement striving to establish an Islamic state governed by the Shariah. The second interpretation views the DMM as a religious reform movement mostly concerned with the perfection of faith of ordinary Muslims. This thesis introduces a third perspective by studying the DMM in a countercultural context. Taking lead from Milton Yinger‟s theory of counterculture, this thesis highlights the conflict of Deobandi movement with the popular social customs as well as religious and cultural practices of majority of Muslims in the subcontinent, with a special focus on Pakistan. The thesis has studied the DMM at three levels. The first level adopts an historical approach to identify countercultural inclinations of the DMM at various points of time since its inception in 1866. This level also highlights the countercultural tendencies of different Deobandi political groups. The second level of research involves a review of latest Deobandi literature to verify the presence of countercultural currents in the DMM during the recent years. The third level compares the values and attitudes of students from a Deobandi madrassah and a mainstream educational institution to further substantiate the findings of the first two stages of research. Based on the observations and findings of these three levels of research, this thesis concludes that there have been enough countercultural trends and tendencies in the DMM to suggest that this movement holds a countercultural character. However, this research in no way disregards the existing interpretations about the DMM. As such, this thesis does not suggest that DMM is an exclusive countercultural movement. Rather, it introduces a countercultural narrative to interpret and understand the DMM and hence broadens the scope of theoretical framework for research on Islamic movements.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2014

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