Maulana Muhammad Ilyas
The founder of the Tablighi Jammat, whose annual meetings in India are said to attract the largest gathering after the pilgrimage to Makkah.
Maulana Muhammad Illyas, after his initial studies, went to the Deoband Islamic Centre where he attained higher Islamic studies. Later he took up a teaching position in famous Madarsah Mazaharul Uloom in Saharanpur (UP). The 'dismal Islamic situation' in the Mewat region near Delhi made him to move in Basti Nizamauddin in the old quarters of Delhi to begin his Da'wah and it was here, in 1926, the Tablighi movement began.
Maulana's devotion, untiring efforts and sincerity of purpose - to preach the message of Islam in every town and village - met with dramatic success in relatively short period of time. The first Tablighi conference that took place in Mewat in November 1941, was attended by over 25,000 people, many of them had walked on foot for ten to fifteen miles to attend.
Maulana Muhammad Illyas was neither a charismatic leader nor did he author a single book in his life. It is rather ironic that despite his enormous contribution towards the development of a powerful grass root Islamic Da'wah movement he has not received much attention in the literature on modern Islamic movement. However, the fruits of his efforts are now visible all over the world.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin / Syed Sharfuddin