Indian History- Islam in Socio-Religious Movement

The Muslim reform movements started a little later because they had avoided western education in the beginning. The first effort was in 1863 when the Muhammad Literary Society was set up in Calcutta. Its aim was to popularise the study of English and western sciences. It established a number of schools in Bengal.

  • Sayyid Ahmed Khan, born in 1817 in a respectable Muslim family, was a loyalist member of the judicial service of the Government. He wantedto reconcile western scientific education with the teachings of the Quranto be interpreted in the light of contemporary rationalism and science even though he also held the Quran to be the ultimate. 
  •  After retirement in 1876, he became a member of the Imperial Legislative Council in 1878. His loyalty earned him a knighthood in 1888. 
  •  He was also a zealous educationist—as an official, he openedschools in towns, got books translated into Urdu and started theMohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh in 1875.
  • He opposed purdah and polygamy, advocated easy divorce, and condemned the system of piri and muridi. He believed in the fundamental underlying unity of religions or 'practical morality'. He also preached the basic commonality of Hindu and Muslim interests. 
  • His mouthpiece ‘Tahdhib-ul-Akhaq’ was a medium of propagation of his ideas.
              He argued that Muslims should first concentrate on education and jobs and try to catch up with their Hindu counterparts. He opposed political activity by the Muslims fearing hostility from government. In his enthusiasm for Muslim welfare he let the British use him as part of policy of divide and rule.

  •  The Aligarh Movement emerged as a liberal, modern trend among the Muslim intelligentsia based in Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh. 
  • It aimed at spreading (i)modern education among Indian Muslims without weakening their allegiance to Islam; (ii) social reforms among Muslims relating to purdah, polygamy, widow remarriage, women's education, slavery, divorce, etc. 

  • The Deoband Movement was organised by the orthodox section among the Muslim Ulema as a revivalist movement with the twin objectives of propagating pure teachings of the Quran and Hadis among Muslims and keeping alive the spirit of jihad against the foreign rulers. 
  •  The Deoband Movement was established in Deoband in Saharanpur district (United Provinces) in 1866 by Mohammad QasimNanotavi (1832-80) and Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (1828- 1905) to train religious leaders for the Muslim community. 
  •  On the political front, the Deoband School welcomed the formation of the Indian National Congress and in 1888 issued a fatwa (religious decree) against Syed Ahmed Khan’s organizations The United Patriotic Association and the Mohammed Anglo-Oriental Association. Some critics attribute Deoband’s support to the nationalists more to its determined opposition to Syed Ahmed Khan than to any positive political philosophy.

  •  The Wahabi movement was a revivalist movement which tried to purify Islam by eliminating all the Un-Islamic practices which had crept into Muslim society through the ages. 
  •  Syed Ahmed of Rae Bareli, the leader of this movement in India was influenced by the teaching of Abdul Wahab of Arabia, but even more by the preaching of the Delhi Saint Shah Waliullah. 
  •  The movement was organized around two fold ideas (i) Convergence of all four schools of thought of Muslim jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali, and the al-Shafi’i schools) (ii) Contradictory interpretations of Quran and Hadiths be left to the individual conscience 
  • According to the tenets of Wahabi movement, India was considered to be Dar-ul-Harb (unholy land) and it was needed to convert it to Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam). The movement shifted its target to the British from Sikhs which the former annexed Punjab. The movement died during the 1870s unable to face colonial might.

  •  The RAHNUMAI MAZDAYASNAN SABHA (Religious Reform Association) was founded in 1851 by a, group of English-educated Parsis for the "regeneration of the social conditions of the Parsis and the restoration of the Zoroastrian religion to its pristine purity". 
  •  It composed of intellectuals like Naoroji Furdonji, Dadabhai Naoroji, K.R. Cama and S.S. Bengali. 
  •  The message of reform was spread by the newspaper Rast Goftar (Truth-Teller). 
  •  In the social sphere, attempts were made to uplift the status of Parsi women through removal of the purdah system, rising the age of marriage and education. Gradually, the Parsis emerged as the most westernized section of the Indian society. 

  • Punjab also came under the spell of reforms. Baba Dayal Das founded the Nirankari Movement. He insisted the worship of God as nirankar (formless). 
  •  The Namdhari Movement was founded by Baba Ram Singh.  His followers wore white clothes and gave up meat eating. 
  •  The Singh Sabhas started in Lahore and Amritsar in 1870 was aimed at reforming the Sikh society. 
  • They helped to set up the Khalsa College at Amritsar in 1892. They also encouraged Gurmukhi and Punjabi literature. In 1920, the Akalis started a movement to remove the corrupt Mahants (priests) from the Sikh gurudwaras. The British government was forced to make laws on this matter. Later, the Akalis organised themselves into a political party. 
  •  The Akalis started a satyagraha movement in 1921 which was peaceful non-cooperation and culminated in the passing of Sikh Gurudwara Act in 1925. It legally defined Sikh identity and brought Sikh Gurdwaras (houses of worship) under the control of an elected body of orthodox Sikhs.

Indian History- Islam in Socio-Religious Movement Indian History- Islam in Socio-Religious Movement Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on October 09, 2018 Rating: 5

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