Assalaamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh… I do hope that you remember me. I emailed you last week in regards to seeking permission to utilize your articles and to request an interview with you via email for The Halaqah E-Magazine. Alhamdulillah, you graciously gave me the permission and the time so below are some interview questions and more than likely I will respond with more questions pertaining to your answers..Insha’Allah.
1. Could you tell the readers what your primary position and duties are at www.friendsofdeoband.com? How long has friendsofdeoband.com been in operation?
Alhamdulillah, friendsofdeoband.com has been in operation for approximately two years and in this time we have published over 200 articles. We source articles which cover relevant topics then edit and publish them. We try and use a uniform format for all our articles and this also includes a uniform format for transliterations of Arabic and Urdu words. We would like all of our works to be presented in a professional and high quality manner as many people are put-off by poor quality, spelling errors, etc.
2. Anyone who visits friendsofdeoband.com can see that there is a link to another blog, ulamadeoband.wordpress.com, which in turn has two more links to blogs, ahlalbidah.wordpress.com and imamgangohi.wordpress.com. Do you run all four blogs yourself?
Hayat ‘Ulama Deoband (ulamadeoband.wordpress.com) is a blog which collects biographies and biographical notes of the ‘ulama. Thus far we have over 130 different biographies mostly of contemporary ‘ulama as well as some classical ‘ulama. The blog is meant to be a single point of reference for biographies of the ‘ulama in English. We also have a project where interested and qualified persons may translate biographies from other languages to English and these will get published. Also, a future project that I hope to undertake at some point or that I hope someone will undertake is to compile these biographies after thorough research, editing, etc. This was perhaps the primary aim of this blog. A lot of work and effort is still required on the material in this blog and I request for du’as that these tasks are made easy and that Allah grants acceptance.
As for ahlalbidah.wordpress.com then this is a blog meant for collecting of articles that we come across on the internet and elsewhere. These might be published on the website in the future however for now we have placed them on this blog for reference purposes.
3. One will notice that every article on your site is written by Ulama. Are you in direct connection with these Ulama or do you just borrow their articles and publish them on your site?
4. Do you only publish articles from Deobandi Ulama or do you reach across all four madhaahibs?
Alhamdulillah, most of our articles are written by qualified ‘ulama. There are some that are written by non-‘ulama nevertheless the authors are specialists in their fields and thus we utilise their articles. The majority of the authors are Hanafi and adherents to the manhaj of the ‘ulama of Deoband. However, there are articles authored by non-Hanafis as well. As our aim is not to be a fiqh resource this is not an issue. The primary aim is to elucidate the legacy, works and history of the ‘ulama of Deoband. However at times we may include topical discussions related to fiqh but this is kept to minimum. There are several dedicated websites for the study of the fiqh of the madhhabs and we encourage readers to seek advice from the ‘ulama. Also the aim is not to simply copy and paste articles from other website but as stated earlier to source relevant articles and to edit (and at times research) and then to publish. The process can take a day to several months depending on the circumstances.
There are various ‘ulama with whom we are in contact and these are not necessarily authors of articles. Where necessary we also contact ‘ulama to proof read articles of theirs that we have edited and we regularly update a list of ‘ulama with the latest articles and other information. Also, there are many ‘ulama that are on our subscriber list Alhamdulillah.
5. From my personal experience on friendsofdeoband.com, I have read some tremendously beneficial and spiritually enlightening articles. On the other hand, I have seen comments of other readers that refute either the entire article or a particular part of the article. How do you respond to these comments and is there are certain article that has really stood out in regards to negative responses from your readers?
As friendsofdeoband.com is not a forum or social discussion platform we do not necessarily entertain discussions of a nature that may lead to endless arguments. There are various platforms for this already available. Where a comment may lead to a fruitful discussion we allow it to be published. See the article concerning images of the ‘ulama by Mufti ‘Umar Faruq al-Lawharwi which has lead to fruitful comments.
6. As there is much division within the Ummah, have you received threatening comments or emails from those who oppose your site?
Alhamudillah our site has not received threatening emails or comments of a serious nature. Anything of this sort is ignored. However the site has been hacked several times by unknown persons with unknown motives. May Allah protect us and guide the detractors and enemies of the ‘ulama.
7. Does friendsofdeoband accept article submissions from readers?
Yes, we welcome submissions from readers. Although a submission does not guarantee publication we ask readers to submit their articles and these will go through the process as mentioned earlier. As friendsofdeoband.com is not a personal sharing blog we will always be happy to receive input especially from the learned and the scholars.
8. What do you hope to accomplish with your site?
The aim of the site is to present the life and works of the ‘ulama of Deoband in a professional manner to the English speaking world especially those not aware who the ‘ulama of Deoband were. I believe this is an important task in this time when the detractors of the ‘ulama have spread a lot of false information and propaganda that this be countered. Also, the new generation growing up in the West are not fully aware of the ‘ulama of Deoband and their sacrifices and hence do not show real regard for them. The fact of the matter is that we are proud of being linked to the noble ‘ulama of Deoband even though we are not worth the dust on the shoes of these personalities. We will forever be indebted for their services to Islam.
9. Since starting your site, do you feel that because of the articles you publish has truly increased not only your knowledge of the deen but your imaan as well?
Alhamdulillah, may Allah increase us in knowledge as well as iman. This is just a weak effort by a sinful servant and I hope that with this Allah will accept me in the company of the pious. It was the ‘ulama of Deoband who had sacrificed for din to reach us and for this I will forever be grateful. This site in no way does justice to their efforts. Also, any errors and mistakes on the site should in no way be attributed to the ‘ulama of Deoband, rather this is an error and a mistake on my side and maw Allah forgive me.
I request du’as that Allah grants me the strength to continue this work, that He grants me sincerity and that He accepts us acceptance. Ameen.
Jazak’Allah for this opportunity and I make du’a that Allah accept from you your services to His din. Ameen.
‘Abd Allah bin Muhammad
Jazak’Allahu Khayr akhi for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon.