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Drawing the parallels between Syed Ahmad Bareilvi and Talibans

Jun 23, 2010
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Every student of Pakistan must have heard about Syed Ahmad Bareilvi in their text books, lets analyze him from pashtun prospective. Syed Ahmad was born near Lucknow in the small town of Rai Bareli in1786. He believed that the freedom of Muslims could only come as a result of armed struggle against the foreign and non-Muslims forces. Moreover impressed from the ideas of Abdul Wahab of Najd, he believed that there was a need to end the evils that had corrupted Islamic society of India. His ultimate goal was to end British occupation. At that time Pashtuns of north west were the only muslims who were free and independent. Syed Ahmed Shaheed had already served in the army of the Yousafzai state of Tonk in India under Amir Khan , also some of his followers were rohillas of rohailkhand (U.P, India) .Moreover his syed ancestors had once settled in Yousafzai country from where they migrated to India. So he decided that he would launch his movement from pashtun areas preferably from yousafzai plains. He, thus, migrated to Pashtun areas along with a group of his Indian followers. To avoid confronting Sikhs, he adopted a long route and passed through Sindh, Balochistan and then Kabul and finally arrived at Nowshera.
Local Pashtuns welcomed him. He told them about his cause and mission and convinced them to rally behind him to free Punjabi muslims from Sikhs. After having satisfied himself that he had gained sufficient power to challenge Ranjit Singh, the ruler of Punjab. He sent a message to him to either accept Islam or pay jiziya or prepare for war. Ranjit singh refused the message and decided to crush the newly emerging organized power in the west of his state across the indus. He sent a powerful army under Hari Singh and Badi Singh to defeat Syed Ahmed Shaheed’s forces. At the battle at Akora Khattak fought in 1826, Syed Ahmed Shaheed and his Mujahideen were victorious and Sikhs suffered a huge defeat. The next year i.e. 1827, the Sikhs were again defeated at Hazro on the eastern band of River Indus.
Two successive victories against Sikhs consolidated his position in the region. Few years later he thought it is time to establish an islamic state in the present day khyber Pakhtunkhwa which would act as base to launch attacks on punjab against sikhs. he declared areas under his influence as an Islamic state and titled himself as "Amir-ul-Momineen". He arranged for his name to be mentioned in Friday’s sermons. He implemented Islamic Sharia and appointed Qazis and Aamils from amongst his Indian followers. It was decided that they would first free the Pashtun society from cultural influences and customary practices. He tried to abolish Institution of Jirga and Pashtunwali. Sayyid Ahmad also attempted to collect the Islamic tithe(usher) of ten per cent of crop yields. This alarmed the local pashtuns, they were never not used to this kind of impositions and rule, through out history they had rejected foreign rule even if they were muslims. As syed ahmed and his followers were from india, they were perceived as foreigners who wanted to impose their ideas and rule on them, want to interfere in their ways of life and finish their independence. The yousafzais of mardan and durrani nobles of Peshawer formed an alliance against syed ahmed and his band. But alliance was defeated and Peshawar was captured by islamic reformers.
What doomed syed ahmed is another event. Most of syed Ahmed indian followers were unmarried , they expressed their wish to marry local women, but locals refused it. Syed ahmed deemed it an unislamic behavior and put pressure on families to marry their daughters with his indian followers. This angered the yousafzais, they felt that syed ahmed was forcing himself on them. They were already agitated by his reformations attempts and the fact that all of his aamils and qazis were from india, they deemed it as foreign dictatorial rule. Yousafzai jirga was recalled, decision was made that all of his indian followers spread across country would be assassinated in a single day to break his strong authority over the region. The plan was carried out successfully ,several hundreds of his indian followers were taken by surprise and got butchered in a single day. Syed ahmad himself survived and fled to hazara with remnants of his followers. Disappointed with pashtuns, he decided to capture kashmir. But in 1831 surrounded by a large Sikh army and killed at Balakot.

Syed ahmed had same goals like talibans of present day, but he failed. Pashtuns were ready to fight for them against sikhs but were not ready to accept him as their amir ul momineen, his sharia and reformations....This in-fight proved disastrous for both Pashtuns and syed ahmed...It is interesting to see that pashtuns of modern times were receptive for taliban movement as unlike syed ahmed times they were radicalized enough...
(Written by me)

Sources: yousafzai qoum ki surgazistby roshan khan, Historyofthepathans volume 1 by brigd.(retd) haroon rasheed..frontier of faith in the indo-afghan border, tareekh-e-peshawer by mohammed yaqoob...Pakistan And The Emergence Of Islamic Militancy In Afghanistan



@Sher Malang, @Spring Onion, @Armstrong @Secur, @Safriz
 
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Leader

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no really,it's true that many did call him a British agent.

local agents of british raj called him agent !

p.s.

arent all pakistani taliban pashtuns/pakhtoons/pathans actually or a pashtun/pakhtoon origin militant movement?

it actually is..

who is resisting this pashtun madness??

yes the Punjabi Army...

get a Punjabi perspective of my own :lol:
 

Pak-Man

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local agents of british raj called him agent !

p.s.

arent all pakistani taliban pashtuns/pakhtoons/pathans actually or a pashtun/pakhtoon origin militant movement?

it actually is..

who is resisting this pashtun madness??

yes the Punjabi Army...

get a Punjabi perspective of my own :lol:

a historian named Francis Robinson mentioned in his book that Ahmad Raza was openly against resisting British rule.
Also,to call Pakistani army the 'Punjabi army' would be a gross generalization because there are members of all ethnicities and religions in the pakistani army, including pashtunes
 

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a historian named Francis Robinson mentioned in his book that Ahmad Raza was openly against resisting British rule.
Also,to call Pakistani army the 'Punjabi army' would be a gross generalization because there are members of all ethnicities and religions in the pakistani army, including pashtunes

indeed............ :lol:
 
Jun 23, 2010
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a historian named Francis Robinson mentioned in his book that Ahmad Raza was openly against resisting British rule.
Also,to call Pakistani army the 'Punjabi army' would be a gross generalization because there are members of all ethnicities and religions in the pakistani army, including pashtunes

Ahmed raza bareilvi , founder of bareilvi school of thought is some one else. This this syed ahmed was called bareilvi because he was born in city of baraily
 

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Ahmed raza bareilvi , founder of bareilvi school of thought is some one else. This this syed ahmed was called bareilvi because he was born in city of baraily

:lol:oh! they're two entirely different people?hehe,my honest mistake:suicide2:
 

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I don't know what you're implying but you need to look at this from an unbiased perspective and keep your fanboyism in check.:lol:

edit @Pak-one whoops edit

the article its a pashtun washtun perspective ??? :lol:

seriously dont draw favourable conclusions with far fetched historic events, both of which had their own context and reasons of failure... the pashtuns joined hands with sikhs is also a fact !
 
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Pak-Man

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the article its a pashtun washtun perspective ??? :lol:

seriously dont draw favourable conclusions with far fetched historic events, both of which had their own context and reasons of failure... the pashtuns joined hands with sikhs is also a fact !

hehe,I think you have me confused with pak-one,I am pak-MAN:lol:
 

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Syad Ahmed Barelvi's raised the cry of Jihad early 1827 in the NW Frontier. Before coming to the frontier, when he was in India he claimed to have received special revelation from heaven in a dream. Coming to Delhi he shared his ideas with Maulvis Abdul Hai, Abdul Azis and Muhammad Ismail from whom he gathered many supporters. He was against bowing at the graves of Saints and celebrating Muharram. In 1822 he did Hajj and came into contact with Wahabis who inspired his ideas even further.

Originally he wanted to carry out a Jihad against the British in India, but the British were deemed too powerful for a direct confrontation. So he decided to wage his Jihad against the Sikhs in the north west. He went from mosque to mosque calling on Hindustani Muslims to join him in his Jihad against the Sikhs. The British also quietly supported him thinking that if he is able to weaken the Sikhs through war, they will come in for the final kill and take over North West India. The strategy of Syad Ahmed Barelvi was that after conquering the territory of the Sikhs, he will be in an advantages position to conquer all of Hindustan.

He left Delhi with 500 Hindustani followers in 1826. He first went to the state of Tonk whose Nawab agreed to fund his Jihad. Then he went to Sindh in Shikarpur and Khairpur whose rulers also further strengthened him with weapons and money. From Sindh he went straight to Kandahar. After relating his ideology and plans to the Afghans, the Barakzai Sardars did not take him seriously. Being disappointed with the lack of support from the Barakzais, he went to the Gilzai country. There he began to incite the Yusafzais to fight a Jihad against the Sikhs.

The Yusafzais supported him because they did not like the governor of their province a Barakzai named Yar Muhammad who along with his army joined the Sikhs. So they fought and defeated the army of Yar Muhammad. After this initial victory Syad Ahmad Barelvi was hailed as Amir Ul Momineen.

Having heard about the defeat of his governer, Maharaj Ranjit Singh sent an army to Okara not far from Attak under Sardars Budh Singh, Attar Singh and Lahna Singh Sandhawalia. Coming face to face, the Sikhs entrenched themselves. Syad Ahmad Barelvi attacked them with a big army consisting of his Hindustani and Eusafzai followers. The Sikh commanders fighting from their entrenched positions and disciplined forces were able to repel the large but ill disciplined army of Syad Ahmad Barelvi. The Syad with his followers fled the battle field to the safety of the mountains where he reorganized his army and began to carry out a guerrilla war against the Sikhs.

In 1829, Yar Muhammad the governor of Peshawar tried to poison Syad Ahmed Barelvi. When Syad found out about this, he again appeared on the battle field and a battle was fought between the Peshawar army of Yar Muhammad and the Ghazis in which the Peshawar troops were defeated. Peshawar was too about to fall had it not been for the chance appearance by Prince Sher Singh and a small detachment of Sikhs who had come to fetch the famous horse "Leili" for Maharaja Ranjit Singh. After this Yar Muhammad's brother Sultan Muhammad Khan was made the new governor of Peshawar.

Wanting to extent his influence, Syad Ahmad Barelvi thought it better to try his luck in Kashmir. He crossed the Attak in June 1830 but was defeated by Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. Syad retreated with his army back to the mountains of NW Frontier. Here he went from tribe to tribe gathering many followers. With a large army he again appeared at Peshawar. Hearing about the approach of a large army, Sultan Muhammad Khan the governor of Peshawar also gathered a large army. A battle was fought in which the Barakzai governor was defeated.

Now Syad Ahmad Barelvi had become the ruler of Peshawar. He was now at the height of his power and prestige. He set up an emirate governed according to strict Sharia. He assumed the title Khalif and issued coins in his name. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh heard about the fall of Peshawar and defeat of the Barakzai troops by the fanatic Syad Ahmad Barelvi, Maharaja Ranjit Singh decided to lead the army to peshawar in person. Crossing the Attak, when the Sikhs reached Peshawar, Syad Ahmad Barelvi fled instead of fighting. The Sikhs again reinstated Sultan Muhammad Khan to the governorship of Peshawar and returned to Lahore. But as soon as the Sikhs were in Lahore, again Syad Ahmad Barelvi appeared and attacked Peshawar. This time Sultan Muhammad Khan agreed to enter terms with Barelvi and to rule in his name and pay him 3,000 rupees as Nazrana.

Syad Ahmad Barelvi installed his Hindustani Maulvis and Qazis to administer justice according to the Sharia Law. Syad then made the mistake of passing a decree that the Pathans must provide wives to his needy Hindustani followers from amongst their daughters who are of marriageable age. This was too much to bear for the proud Pathans who then made a plan to attack and assassinate all his Maulvi administrators. In this way Peshawar was lost from the Syad's control.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent an army under Prince Sher Singh. This army faced Syad Ahmad Barelvi and his army in Balakot in May 31, 1831. In the battle of Balakot the Ghazis were decisively defeated by the Sikhs which resulted in the deaths of Syad Ahmad Barelvi and Muhammad Ismail(grandson of Shah Waliullah). The surviving Ghazis fled in different directions under disguise.

According to Syad Muhammad Latif: "Thus ended the career of Syad Ahmad, the impostor, who, in the garb of religion, had endeavored to promote his own private ends and those of his followers. His existence as the supporter of the Wahabi persuasion was as dangerous to the Musalmaan community who followed the precepts of the Quran and the Hadis as propounded by the early writers of the faith, as it was to the non-Mussalman public. Immediately after his death became known, his deputies were expelled from the hills on the frontier, his Ghazis fled in disguise."

Sources: Syad Muhammad Latif, JD Cunningham, Dr. Hariram Gupta, Dr Ganda Singh.
 

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