Aligarh and anti-Aligarh movement


By Prof . Arif UL Islam

The opposition within the ranks is almost fatal to any reformist movement. Sir Syed defined and implemented the biggest and most important reform in history of Muslims. He not only theorised revolutionary ideas on four vital fronts but got them implemented too against the combined forces of clergy , powerful discourse in Islam, centuries old academic and political legacy of Muslims. Let me submit at the outset that had he not earned , and earned is vital here, the all out support of the govt. , he might have got killed by the same people he was working for( consider the example of Gandhi). His work comprises four vital aspects.

1- Philosophy of Ilm and Education . He rejected Ilm comprising only Religious texts as Mullahs have been believing since Ghazali. Developed first modernist institution in Islam( Prof Gibbs in his book Mohammadanism). He rejected. Madaris system.

2- Reintroduced Rational Quranic Islam , through his Tafseer, Khutabate Ahmadiya , Articles in various aspects of Islam including refutation of Ghazali and Sects in Islam.

3- Initiated positive dialogue between Islam and West through his Tafseer of Bible and hiring of British professors at MAO College against the tide of hatred of Nasara.

4- Developed and reformed Urdu language and Journalism. 5- Created a powerful political movement for sharing power in future democratic India through his first ever speech by any thinker on Democracy in Parliament ( viceroys council) when first democratic provision was initiated in 1882. Formed three political parties the last one Mohamaddan Defense Association was renamed All India Muslim League by Viqarul Mulk , Mohsinul Mulk .

This is what is known as Aligarh Movement. But alongside a powerful anti movement was also going on . The socalled Ulema group is still active in his opposition in one or the other form. Many of them have become professors in Aligarh itself. Tayabji was enlisted to oppose his political ideas as President of third Congress inn1887. Shibli was the first teacher of the college who wrote articles against his political ideas in support of Nationalism of Congress after his death in 1898. It was the beginning of the most vicious campaign which became a storm by publication of Alhilal and Albilagh by Maulana Azad under guidance of Shibli. Then our own Old Boys , Ali Brathran tried their best to handover the College to Congress under the pretext of Khilafat Tahrek devised by Gandhi in collaboration with Abdul Bari Farangi Mehli.

They almost succeeded but for brave defense of Sir Ziauddin, principal of the college and member of the League. University was saved by Nehru but after drastic changes invalidating its minority status by the 1952 amendment act presented by Azad as education minister. It altered the fundamental definition THAT UNIVERSITY IS ESTABLISHED BY MUSLIMS OF INDIA FOR ITS EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL ADVANCEMENT to claim that IT IS ESTABLISHED BY AN ACT OF PARLIAMENT.

The Azad Amendment is the root cause of all litigations till date. Last but not the least former VC Syed Hamid relaunched Tahzebul Akhlaque which has been working on Anti Sir Syed mission since its inception. It regularly publishes articles against Sir Syed’s views about Madaris , Congress Nationalism, Maghrib and entire West, Rational Islam. It has become propaganda tool to promote anti Sir Shed Mullahs. It regularly publishes special numbers in the name of Mullahs. It has nothing to do either with Tahzeeb or Akhlaque and even Tahzebul Akhlaque. University must immediately terminate its publication. You have every right to publish anti-Sir Syed articles but not in his own journal.This is highly immoral and dangerous.

3 thoughts on “Aligarh and anti-Aligarh movement

  1. I think if people like Maulana Azad, Hamid Ansari, Maulana Shibli etc. are writing something against Sir Syed’s ideology then we should respect that even if it is done within the AMU’s journal.

    Sir Syed has done lot of good work, but that doesn’t mean that we will accept his wrong ideology on few things. Everything has to be balanced correctly. No one person is 100 percent correct except for our beloved Prophet (PBUH). every done mistakes and we need to accept it rather than being emotional about an individual except for our Prophet (PBUH).

    I disagree with the view mentioned in this article.

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