Afghan Biographies

Darul Uloom, Deoband

Name Darul Uloom, Deoband
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Background and Names
History and Biodata

Darul Uloom, Deoband was founded in 1866 in a small town of Deoband around 100 miles north of Delhi by the Muslim scholars. Eventually it has become one of the most prestigious Sunni Islamic institutes in South Asia. The school of thought of the institute is known as Deobandi Islam.

After the partition of India, many noted scholars of this institute moved to newly created Pakistan and set up seminaries, or madrassas, teaching an austere version of Islam particularly along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. And that is where most of the Taliban and their leadership was educated. Hence the Taliban is also the follower of Deobandi ideology. And interpretation of Islam through this ideology the Taliban justify their clerical government and their goals for a hard-line Islamic system. It may be the case that because of this ideological bond Darul Uloom is reluctant to clarify the stand on Taliban decision to ban women education.

Deobandis are a prominent group among Islamists in modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani and Afghani Deobandis often claim that they have little contact with the original Deoband school in northern India. But the matter of fact is that still, their madrasas follow Deoband’s program of studies. That program focuses on the most orthodox Islamic jurisprudence, interpretations of the Quran, theology, and philosophy. Also the alumni from Darul Uloom Haqqania, one of the most prominent Deobandi schools in Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hold many prominent posts in the current Taliban-led government. Even the founder of Taliban movement Mullah Omar studied in Darul Uloom Haqqania. Often many people call the institute the University of Jihad as it has educated more Taliban leaders than any school in the world. So, it doesn’t seem a creditable claim that Deobandis across the region have no connections. Maybe they have limited organisational connection but they definitely have an ideological one. Also, it’s a truth that whenever
Taliban requires a large number of foot soldiers. Deobandi madrasas in Af-Pak border areas have closed their schools and advised the students to join and help the Taliban.

Taliban claim that its ban on women education is as per the sharia. There is no universal Islamic law, because Sharia is open to different interpretations among the five main schools of Islamic jurisprudence four Sunni schools of thought which are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali. And one Shi’ite school which is called Jaafri. The Taliban’s justification for its hard-line Islamic system is rooted in the Deobandi movement which follows Sunni Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Thus, the Taliban’s Deobandi version of Islamic law differs from Sharia in other predominantly Muslim countries, including other mostly Sunni countries.

The Darul-Uloom, Deoband itself has been criticised many times in the past over the issuance of fatwas prohibiting Muslim women working outside their homes or girls taking up modern education. Deobandis in India and Pakistan don’t have the capacity to ban women’s education. So, they only share their views and in some cases issue fatwas. But that’s not the case in Afghanistan as Deobandis are running the government which gives them power to implement any interpretation of sharia they like. And other Deobandis of the subcontinent are giving them ideological support by keeping quiet on this controversial issue.


The Deobandis claim that they follow their original and purest form of Islam but on the contrary their beliefs and teaching only find an audience in South Asia and not in muslim Ummah at large. It’s ironic that Deobandis often put forward their views or even issue fatwas on issues like- photography, dress code for muslims, kite flying and beard for men. It would not matter much if these fatwas were mere opinion. But they are treated and projected more as a decree, an order to be followed, and a defining proclamation about what is to be believed and not believed. But strangely Darul Uloom doesn’t think it’s important to give its viewpoint on the recent ban on women education by the Taliban, their ideological followers.



Last Modified 2023-02-17
Established 2023-02-17