Khilafat Movement, Khijrat call to Afghanistan, Maulana Azad

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  1. chharoonahmad
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    chharoonahmad FULL MEMBER

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    Hi

    I was reading in a certain book that during the Khilafat Movement in 1920 a call was made by different Muslim scholars to migrate to Afghanistan. To begin with, the Khilafat Movement in itself was a naive approach on Muslims' behalf. The Congress and the Hindus supported it because it served their own objectives. Anyone would do that so there is nothing to blame the Congress or Hindu leaders for. Now this "Khijrat" call seems even more naive approach. Perhaps, it's only me who finds them so only out of my sheer limited knowledge!

    I stumbled onto this page from a Google book search. On page 40 in the last paragraph you would find that Maulana Azad was one of those prominent Muslim leaders who also supported this migration to Afghanistan. I'm surprised because Azad was a 'very' nationalistic leader. What is your opinion regarding this?

    By the way, the Indian Muslims didn't come from Afghanistan. They had always been Indians. It was the Arab merchants and other personalities who brought Islam to the Subcontinent.

    Please guide me on this. Thanks. And please avoid religious rants.

    Regards
    Haroon
  2. BelligerentPacifist
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    BelligerentPacifist SENIOR MEMBER

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    1) You mean hijrat or hijrah. No kh in there. And it is not naive, rather one of the 5 members of what a Muslim does (heard in an 3qiidah lecture by Dr. Israr).

    2) You are misguided of your history. Arab merchants influenced people in the South and along the Kinara coast (from Sindh down to much south of Mumbai). The rest (and the majority btw) of the Muslim are two types: settlers from Central Asia including Afghanistan (just look at our surnames) and the others converts through Sufi movements, which form the majority.

    Thanks.
  3. LaBong
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    LaBong ELITE MEMBER

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    This may help!

    India Is Darul Aman, Mr. Singhal | Indian Muslims
  4. BelligerentPacifist
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    BelligerentPacifist SENIOR MEMBER

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    India may be daar ul amaanah but IMO not dar ul amaan.
  5. EjazR
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    EjazR SENIOR MEMBER

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    India may be daar ul amaanah but IMO not dar ul amaan.

    Can you explain a bit more? amanah means trust. So you are saying it is House of trust but not House of peace?

    In any case, the reason why the Ulema have given the title of Dar ul Aman is because there is freedom to practice Islam.

    In any case, these concepts are not core concepts of Islam. For example, there is no mention of this in the Quran or Hadith. At the present time, according to soem scholars, where almost all nations provide freedom to practice your faith, there is no Dar ul Harb and the entire world is Dar-ul-Aman.
  6. EjazR
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    EjazR SENIOR MEMBER

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    @haroon

    Again as I have mentioned before, to see the Khilafat movement in isolation with the Swaraj/Non-Cooperation movement will lead you to an incorrect understanding of what the circumstances were at that time. Khilafat-NonCooperation movement was at its heart an anti-colonial movement which basically protested against British colonial policies in India as well as British policies of what was left of Turkey at that time. And because of this it was a pan-Indian struggle as well. Lala Lajpat Rai, CR Das, Subash, Subash Chandra Bose all supported the agitations and went to prison. Gandhiji was actually elected the head of the Khilafat/Non-cooperation movement. The display of Hindu-Muslim unity shook the British empire as it had last in the First War of Independence in 1857.

    Maulana Azad after his travels in the early 1900s had learnt that nations across the world including Arabs and Turks were fighting their own anti-colonial struggles and wanted to ignite the same fervor among Indians and Indian Muslims in particular. HE joined his Bengali Hindu revolutionaries in chalking programs and ideas and also started publishing his own articles on the subject. He had not met Gandhi yet. Because of writings and opposition to the British War effort he was put in prison in 1916 where he remained till 1920.It was only in 1920 that he actually met Gandhi for the firs time.

    Now the Call for Hijrat was given most prominently by the Ali Brothers who started the Khialfat Conference on December 1919 and gave tours and advocated it. Then there were some other pirs, e.t.c. that supported the call. The main idea was to get Afghan help to attach the British in India. But no Ulema ever made it mandatory to migrate. Neither the Jamiat Ulema i Hind or Ulema of Deoband categorically demanded for hijrat. And afaik Maulana Azad was more focused on asking people to join the Non-cooperation movement rather than ask people to migrate. Here again, the idea was that every Muslim should join in the campaign and that there is no choice except to do Jihad (in the sense of striving and struggling) against the British or migrating. The non-violent cooperation against the British in conjunction with the Hindu co-nationalists was the Jihad(struggle) he was referring to. The only writings about Hijrat that I have read by Maulana Azad basically had the theme that those doing Hijrat was basically commending them on the sacrifices that they were making. Maybe in hindsight he should have asked them categorically not to make the hijrat, but at that time, the Afghan king had openly asked for Indians to migrate (both Hindus and Muslim) to Afghanistan and his willingness to fight the British to free India.

    Keep in mind that Afghan King at that time had also fought the third Anglo-Afghan war and the King had openly welcomed Indian both Hindus and Muslim to come to Afghanistan and join in the fight against the British. The Provisional Government of India was then based in Afghanistan Raja Mahendra Pratap as President, Barkatullah as Prime Minister and Champakaran Pillai as Foreign Minister consisting again a mix of Hindu Sikh and Muslim Indians. They were making contacts with the Turks and Germans for support to fight the British. After the Russian revolution they tried to get in touch with USSR as well.

    Again, they were not the only ones, there was the Home rule league and the India House setup in London. Notably Sarvarkar was involved in this conspiracy against the British where he was also soliciting German help against British India. The Ghadar PArty by mainly Punjabi Indians (Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims) in the US, and the Pan Aryan association as well formed by Barakatullah and Samuel Lucas Joshi, a Maratha Christian. Barkatullah was also involved in the Ghadar Party too. All these Indian expats were collecting money and arms to help Indian nationalists eventually to lead a revolt starting from the tribal belt. Later in the 1940s, a similar concept was used under Subash Chandra Bose's leadership when Provisional government of Free India was established along with Azad Hind Fauj to fight British India with German and Japanese support. Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Ofcourse, the Amir of Afghanistan developed cold feet and given the British air superiority and the defeat of the Axis powers started to take a more conciliatory approach to British India. He later sealed the border around August 1920. In all, the main people affected were those from NWFP and Sindh numbering around 40-50 thousands. Most of them returned but many also did settle in Afghanistan and moved on later to Moscow or Turkey to gain help for the Indian cause. 40-50 thousand out of 90 million Muslims at that time is miniscule which IMO shows that the Hijrat call as a mandatory call was not widespread. However, compare that to the Non Cooperation movement for Swaraj/Khilafat and you will see how much mass participation was involved in that. Maulana Azad did write about it being mandatory to participate in the Non-cooperation movement and publicly gave speeches on this. A large number of people went to prisons as well. A number of ulema and activists were interned in Andaman islands for many years.


    During the period, 1916-1923, Maulana Azad was not in prison for only one year 1920. To say as the book says that he was the main advocate in the hijrat episode does not make any sense because the Hijrat calls started in 1919 and by August 1920 the Amir of Afghanistan had already stopped receiving anymore "muhajirs" and had started sending new migrants back. As soon as he was released in 1923, he became the seventh Muslim to become the president of the INC and also its youngest ever president at age 35. This shows the confidence that not just Muslim but Hindus also had in him that led him to be selected as President.

    The Khilafat/Non- Cooperation movement was again an anti-colonial struggle. A struggle (Jihad if you will) for Swaraj of their own land India as well as support and solidarity for anti-colonial struggle in Turkey. Later when India became independent, one of its foremost policy again was anti-colonial support to still colonized nations and kind of continuation of the policy.
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  7. chharoonahmad
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    chharoonahmad FULL MEMBER

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    Many, many thanks, Ejaz. I don't have words to express my gratitude.

    Well, I'm simply amazed by your knowledge, ability of critical analysis and your memory! Should I say I envy you?!:)

    I will read your reply several times, then would post follow-on questions if I had any.

    Best wishes
    Haroon
  8. Greywolf
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    COMMENT: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and his legacy — Yasser Latif Hamdani

    Azad’s role for two decades after partition was one of the token Congress Muslim ‘show boy’ as Jinnah famously called him

    As Pakistan continues to dangle on the brink of failure and India thrives, there are many who have begun to ask whether Maulana Azad, the great Indian leader and Islamic scholar, was right and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was wrong in those final days of the British Raj. Both Azad and Jinnah were extremely intelligent leaders and were contenders for the leadership of Muslims. The westernised Jinnah managed to win the support of the Muslim masses while the religious scholar, Maulana Azad, was sidelined.

    In his autobiography, Azad made a prescient observation about Pakistan breaking into two, which came true of course. There are however, a number of predictions, all seemingly accurate, which are associated with Azad that seem to reinforce further his image as the sage of the age. He is said, amongst other things, to have predicted Pakistan’s dependence on western powers and growing discord between the religious right and liberals in Pakistan in an interview conducted in April 1946. The only problem is that the latter list of predictions has been transmitted to us through a dubious source. This source was Agha Shorish Kashmiri, a committed Ahrari leader who opposed the creation of Pakistan (and ironically, played an important role in fomenting sectarian trouble against Ahmadis and Shias in Pakistan). No one other than Kashmiri seems to have seen a record of this interview and there is no primary source to confirm this interview. The said interview does not appear in any of Azad’s papers or in any record of his life as preserved in India. In the view of this writer therefore, that interview was a concoction and a distortion invented by Agha Shorish Kashmiri in the 1970s when he wrote an Urdu biography of Azad. TV shows like Khabarnaak have recently referenced these predictions and the myth therefore, is now fully under way as being accepted as the gospel truth.

    What is equally bothersome about this attempt to re-invent Azad as a latter day Nostradamus, staring into his crystal bowl and predicting the future is that it completely disregards his own role in the first five decades of the 20th century. The Khilafat Movement brought Azad, who was a well-respected Islamic scholar in Sunni circles, into prominence, where he used fiery Islamic rhetoric to galvanise the religious Muslim masses behind the movement to save the Caliphate in Turkey. Mahatma Gandhi and other Hindu leaders who, naively, assumed that deploying the abrasive theocratic logic of the Caliphate could somehow paradoxically bring Hindus and Muslims together on one platform, supported this movement. Azad repeatedly denounced the Aligarh school and chastised Muslims for following the timid and pro-western ways of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, when Islam was a complete code of life. He also gave the famous fatwa for Hijrat, which declared that India under British rule was Dar-ul-Harb and that it was the religious duty of every Muslim to either resist the government or migrate to Afghanistan. It is noteworthy that Jinnah repeatedly warned Gandhi to stay away from this pseudo-religious approach, which would ultimately divide Hindus and Muslims as well as Muslims and Muslims. The consequences of the Khilafat Movement and the rhetoric of Azad and Maulana Mohammad Ali were that Muslim professionals left government service and other material benefits of the British rule and were led onto a path of self-destruction. Gandhi, Azad and other leaders of this movement went on to ask even Aligarh University to refuse British patronage (while paradoxically failing to ask the same of Benaras Hindu University). Since the entire movement was built on a theological foundation, i.e. Pan-Islamism, it was bound to turn on itself. The Moplah Muslim uprising in the south completely shattered the façade of Hindu-Muslim unity created by the movement. In retaliation, Hindus started the Shuddhi (which was aimed at re-converting Muslims to Hinduism) and Sanghtan (organising and arming Hindus). In reaction to the Shuddhi and Sanghtan movements, Muslims came up with the Tabligh (propagation of faith) and Tanzeem (organisation) movements. This militant and hostile communal atmosphere laid the foundation for open communal warfare, leading to mass rioting and violence. The Khilafat Movement, which had temporarily united Hindus and Muslims for an illogical cause, rendered religious identities non-negotiable. That Jinnah had predicted this in his letters to Gandhi is a matter of record. Azad’s role for two decades after partition was one of the token Congress Muslim ‘show boy’ as Jinnah famously called him. In his book, India Wins Freedom, Azad blames Jawaharlal Nehru for not coming to an arrangement with the Muslim League after the 1937 elections, completely sidestepping his own role in the horse trading that weakened the Muslim unity board and led to the final break between the Muslim League and the Congress. Similarly, Azad concedes, rightly, that the Cabinet Mission Plan would have kept India united and that Congress was wrong in how it handled the Muslim League in the aftermath of the 1946 elections. It is also true that Azad wrote a letter to Gandhi, which suggested exactly that and which probably caused Azad to lose his place as president of the Congress. However, what Azad forgets is that he publicly justified and remained wedded to Congress’ erroneous interpretation of the groupings clause, which led to the collapse of the Cabinet Mission Plan.

    Therefore, the myth of Azad’s prescience is problematic because it papers over facts leading to partition. It is a well-known fact now that Jinnah’s own idea of Pakistan was in a treaty arrangement with India, a sort of a European Union type arrangement, and not of complete partition. In fact, according to Mountbatten, Jinnah had to be forced into accepting partition. Therefore, the Jinnah-Azad binary itself is perhaps a distortion of history and should be avoided in any serious investigation of partition.

    The writer is a practising lawyer. He blogs at http://globallegalorum.blogspot and his twitter handle is therealylh

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