Make your own free website on Tripod.com
ALLAMA MASHRIQI


The following is a tiny part of the Introduction of S. Shabbir Hussain's book GOD, MAN AND UNIVERSE.


Inayat Ullah Khan, popularly known as Allama Mashriqi, was born on August 25, 1888, in Amritsar (now in India) in a well-to-do family of wide contacts. His father, Ata Mohammad Khan, was a keen student of the Muslim movement and had close relations with persons like Syed Jamal-ud-Din Afghani of Central Asia, the champion of pan-Islamism. An exceptionally brilliant student from the very start, Inayat Ullah Khan did his M.A. in mathematics from the Punjab University at the age of 18, securing first position and toppling all previous records. The following year, he entered Christ's College, Cambridge and during his five years' stay there, he did four Triposes, two in first class, and created new records at the university. His main subjects were mathematics, physics, mechanical physics and oriental languages (Arabic and Persian). At the Cambridge, he was awarded the title of Wrangler, and declared Bachelor Scholar and Foundation Scholar. British newspapers described him the "first student from anywhere in the world to have attained highest distinction in four different branches of knowledge."

On return from Britain, he entered the Indian Education Service, where he worked in various capacities, such as Assistant Secretary to the Government of India, Principal, Islamia College, Peshawar and Principal, Central Training College, Peshawar. During his carrer as an educationist, he was President of the Mathematical Society and Member, Delhi University Board. In 1923, he became Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a year later he published his great work, "Tazkirah". After another two years, he went to Cairo as his country's chief delegate to the Motmar-i-Khilafat, where he delivered his historic address known as the "Khitab-i-Misr" - the Egypt Address - and opposed the Western designs to impose a "spiritual" 'Khalifa' of their own on the Muslim world after the Turks had disowned 'Khilafat'. In 1930, the Allama became Member of the International Congress of Orientalists (Leiden); he also attended the Palestine World Conference. The following year, he was awarded Gold Medal by the World Society of Islam. He was Fellow, Geographical Society (Paris), and Fellow, Society of Arts (Paris). As a British India Government servant, Allama Mashriqi behaved extremely independently, sometimes haughtily, towards his superior British officers. Twice, while in service, the British tried to get political work from him, once in 1920 when he was offered ambassadorship, and then in 1921 with the offer to knighthood; each time he declined.

Allama Mashriqi was retired from the Government of India in 1932, when he was on long leave and had planned to launch his Khaksar movement. Through his movement he wanted to implement his concept as enunciated in the "Tazkirah", first in the sub-continent and then in the rest of the world. He embodied this concept in his political programme, when he announced his 14 points in 1938. The first point said, "We Khaksars are determined to establish, by destroying all sectarian feelings and religious bigotry (but keeping religion intact), an egalitarian, non-partisan and tolerant order which would ensure a fair deal to all nations and their rightful growth, and which will be based on virtue, struggle, action and supreme justice." During the course of his struggle, he was imprisoned a number of times. His first imprisonment took place in October, 1939, when he was arrested by the Congress Government of the United Provinces (now called Uttar Pardesh) in the course of his efforts to resolve the conflict between the 'Sunnis' and the 'Shias', two leading sects of the Muslims. Soon after - early 1940 - his movement faced a more formidable enemy, the British Government itself. This resulted in a clash between the British-led police and the Khaksars - banner-lined by newspapers as the "battle of spades and guns". The Allama was arrested, taken to extreme south in Madras, and loged in solitary confinement; he was freed in 1942 after his 100-day fast. After the creation of Pakistan, Mashriqi was imprisoned thrice, in 1950 on charge of attempting to overthrow Liaquat Government by force, in 1958 for alleged complicity in the murder of Republican Leader Dr. Khan Sahib, and in 1962 for plotting to have President Ayub murdered. None of the charges could be established, and he was acquitted in each case, of course, after a good deal of torture. He died of cancer in August 1963.

Allama Mashriqi was a scientist-philosopher profoundly concerned with the purpose of man's creation, an organiser of immense capacity and a reformer of deep human motivation. He was at once humble and haughty, a stiff-necked intellectual and a commoner in 'Khaki', a fine horseman and an untiring walker, a great idealist and a prolific writer; at the same time he was extremely practical. His mutiple vision perplexed many, and the people of South Asia reacted to his advent variantly. A few dubbed him insane; some were scared of the immensity of his ideas, terming them impractical and visionary; many felt that he was born ahead of time and in a people unable to rise to the heights he had visualized; the really longing thronged around him. Allama Mashriqi was outmanoeuvred in politics by his adversaries - the Indian National Congress, and the Muslim League and the British statecraft. But much of what he forecast during the 1940s and later after the creation of the sovereign states of Pakistan and India has come true.

Mashriqi had a tempestuous intellect from which ideas flowed in torrents. He was passionately non-sectarian, and stood for a world-wide revolution and unification of mankind as a single fraternity on the basis of 'Religion of Nature'. How did this humanism take birth in him? What were its various facets and manifestations? How was the West reponsible for its creation and in what form? How could these ideas fit into the communal turmoil that had gripped Indian politics? Theses are some questions which offord an interesting exercise in unfolding Mashriqi's humanism. Mashriqi was deeply influenced by the imperical attitude and physical science of Europe. At Cambridge University, he was mainly a student of physical science, but, when doing his Tripos in Arabic, he came across the Quran and got a new insight into Science of Religions, which impelled him to undertake a deep study of the Quran and other 'divine' documents.

He viewed the conflict within various religions of the world in an entirely different way; instead of getting disgusted with the conflict and discarding Religion, he tried to fathom the fallacy. To him, messengers from the same Creator could not have brought different and conflicting messages to the same creation. He could not conceive of a contradictory and coflicting state of affairs in the Universe, nor could he accept the conflict within various religions as real. Either Religion was a fraud and the prophets were impostors who misguided and disrupted mankind, or they were misprojected by their followers and misunderstood by the mankind. He delved deep into the Quran and other scriptures and arrived at the thrilling conclusion that the prophets had brought the same message to man. He analysed the fundamentals of the Message and established that the teachings of all the prophets were closely linked with evolution of mankind as a single and united species in contrast to other ignorant and stagnant species of animals. It was on this basis that he declared that the Science of Religions was essentially the Science of collective evolution of mankind; all prophets came to unite mankind, not to disrupt it; the basic law of all Faiths is the law of unification and consolidation of the entire humanity.




M.A. (Pun. 1906), MA. (Cantab), B.Sc., B.E., B.O.L., F.R.S.A. (since 1923), F.G.S. (Paris), F.S.A (Paris), F.Ph.I.; I.E.S. (resigned 1930); Wrangler; Foundation scholar, Bachelor, (Christ's); Four (Class I, etc.) Triposes; Broke records of Punjab and Cambridge Universities; Principle, Islamia College. Central Training College; First Under Secretary to the Government of India, Education, (1916); Offered Premiership of a State (1913), Ambassadorship (1920), Knighthood (1921); Member, Delhi University Board; pres., Mathematical Society; Author, *TAZKIRAH (1924); Chief Delegate, Motamer-i-Khilafat (Cairo), (1926); Founder, Khaksar Movement (1930); Delegate, Palestine World Conference; President, World Faiths' Conference (1937); Member, International Congress of Orientalists (Leiden) (1931); Founder, Islam League; Author, HADITHUL-QURAN (1951); etc.

Back to The Last Call