BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Date of Submission



Mohammad Nabeel Jafri, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences


Salwa Tareen, Visiting Fellow, Boston University

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


The Tablighi Jama’at is a transnational Islamic missionary movement that originated in Mewat, India in 1927. It’s founder Maulana Ilyas Kandhlawi founded it with the aim of reforming the Muslim Ummah, which he felt was straying from the true path of Islam. The Tablighi Jama’at is an offshoot of the Deobandi school in Hanafi Sunnism.

The Tablighi Jama’at was intended by its founders to be an apolitical, pietistic organization that recruits people as missionaries to go all over the world on proselytizing missions. These missions are intended to bring errant Muslims back to more orthodox forms of practicing Islam, particularly in matters of dress, ritual, and personal behavior.

Today the Jama’at has millions of followers all over the world and has a strong presence in Pakistan, with its headquarters situated in Riwand. My research is on the women of the Jama’at and what their lives look like. The movement has strict rules for women’s participation, and it often receives harsh criticism for its gendered expectations. Through in-depth interviews, field work and drawing from my own experiences I explored how the Jama’at affects the lives of its female participants. There has been little to no research on women from Karachi participating in the Jama’at despite their growing numbers. These women are often viewed through the lens of stereotypes that label them as passive or submissive. This research is an attempt to see just how true that claim is and what real motivations do women hold when they choose to become members of the Tablighi Jama’at.


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