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  Al-Sayyid Mohammad
 Jamal al-Din Afghani
              Al-Sayyid Mohammad Jamal al-Din Afghani B. Safdar was the most
              outstanding figure of Islam
              in the 19th century. He was the first person to take a
              political attitude toward European colonial
              rule, which since has been adopted by various movements
              of national liberation throughout the
              Muslim world. He's said to have been a philosopher,
              writer, orator and journalist, all at the same
              time. His actions and preaching contributed to many
              reform movements, and the birth of
              Salafiyya, and the Muslim Brothers.

              Courageous and uncompromising, Jamal al-Din aroused and strengthened
              the enthusiasm of his listeners wherever
              he went. He preached Islamic revival through reform, and attacked
              Muslim rulers who resisted European
              encroachments. His goal was to unify all Muslim states into a
              Khalifate which will be able to repulse European
              intervention and restore the glory of Islam. Contrary to most of his
              contemporaries al-Afghani argued that science
              was compatible with Islam and that there have been Muslim scientists
              before. He saw the West both as a problem
              and also part of the solution. He preached modernization but in the
              context of Islam.

              Sayyed Jamalludin Hussaini Afghani was born in 1837 in Asadabad,
              Kunar, Afghanistan. Al-Afghani is a
              descendent of Hussain b. Ali (a.s.), thus the title "sayyid".

              In Kabul, he followed a Muslim pattern of University studies, with
              special attention on philosophy and exact
              sciences. In India he received a more modern education. From India he
              went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. At home
              he served under Amir Dost Mohammad Khan for some time. He went to
              Egypt thereafter, where he became
              aquatinted with Azharis (scholars of Al-Azher University, the oldest
              university in the world, which was built by the
              Fatimids in the 10th century AD) and lectured from his home. Then he
              went to Constantinople (1870) receiving a
              big welcome. Many were jealous of his success there. He decided to
              leave Turkey for Egypt.

              In Egypt, young and old flocked around him, including Mohammad
              `Abduh,
              the future mufti of Egypt, and Sa'd
              Zaghlul, the future hero in the struggle for Egyptian independence.
              Al-Afghani lectured on science and politics. He
              encouraged his followers to consider journalism, believing it was the
              modern method of influencing people's minds.
              He and his followers found Misr (review), al-Tidiara (daily), and
              mir'at al-Sharq.

              Being expelled from Egypt he returned to India. While in Haydarabad,
              and under close observation of the British,
              Jamal al-Din wrote about the materialism and atheist character of the
              West. During this time, his followers in Egypt
              started a riot, which later was suppressed by the British and
              resulted
              in the British's takeover of Egypt. While in
              Paris, 1883, he attacked British's occupation of the Muslim
              world.
              Most importantly, he found a publication with
              Mohammad `Abduh, an Arabic weekly Urwa al-Wuthka (The
              Indissoluble
              Link). This journal was the organ of a
              secret Muslim society.

              In 1886, al-Afghani was invited by Shah Nasir al-Din to Tehran.
              Later,
              as a result of the Shah's anger with his
              popularity Jamal al-Din was forced out of Iran.

              Next, he went to Russia, where he asked the permission of the Tsar to
              publish the Quran and other religious books.
              He stayed there until 1889. On the Shah's request he once again
              went
              to Persia but later was put to asylum for
              seven months. When he was released he went to Basra to recover. His
              hate for the Shah grew and he damaged
              the Shah's reputation. He found (Radiance form the two
              hemispheres) in
              1892. Al-Afghani went to Constantinople
              on the repeated invitations of Sultan Abd al-Hamid. However, his
              opposition with Abu'l-Huda, the leading religious
              dignitary at the court, cost him the favors of the Sultan.

              He died on March 9, 1897 from cancer of the chin, and was buried in
              the cemetery of Nishantash. At the end of
              December 1944, his remains were taken to Afghanistan and laid to rest
              on January 2, 1945 in the suburbs of Kabul
              near Ali `Abad, where a mausoleum had been raised for him.

              He wrote little on theology and philosophy. His works were
              significantly sought after World War II when the
              struggle against the Western colonial rule was at its highest. A lone
              fighter, he was misunderstood and under
              appreciated by many of his contemporaries. Clearly he was a man
              before
              his time. His legacy of Pan-Islamism was
              the father of many movements in the Muslim lands. At the end, Jamal
              al-Din's unique achievements, Pan-Islamic
              ideology, and determined character assured his name in bold prints on
              the pages of history.
 

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