Credit/Source: The Express Tribune: By: Ajmal Kamal / Published: October 7, 2011
By the time Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi became a prominent active maulvi, Muslim shurafa as a class or a bunch of upper caste groups — both with a religious bent of mind and with a more open worldly outlook — had become completely loyal to the colonial government and opposed any political campaigns against it, let alone jihad against ‘occupation’. The mass political resistance initiated by the Indian National Congress gradually moved through the stages of mobilisation for ‘home rule’, boycott of European goods, adoption ofkhaddar instead of imported cloth, Khilafat movement and a call for ‘Hijrat’. The last two were the Congress leadership’s attempts to politically mobilise Indian Muslims of the urban areas who had become sentimentally attached to the dreams of Pan-Islamism and international Khilafat. Some well-known Muslim leaders, including a few maulvis of Deoband, participated in these movements.
Thanvi, however, had categorical reasons against participation in such movements against the colonial government. For one thing, he was of the view that since the ultimate aim was the revival of Muslim rule — in India and elsewhere — to which Hindus could never be expected to empathise, Muslims must keep away from all suchkhurafaat (nonsense). He was particularly angry that the Muslim leaders had subordinated themselves to Gandhi’s decisions. In hisMalfoozat, Thanvi says, “There is nothing in this entire movement which is based on a suggestion from a Muslim leader or the ulama. See for yourself: ‘home rule’ — Gandhi’s idea, boycott — his idea,khaddar — his idea, the Khilafat issue — his idea, the lesson of Hijrat — his idea. All they [the Muslim leaders] take upon themselves is to follow whatever he says. They should have some ghairat at least!”
When Maulana Mahmood-ul Hasan Deobandi was allowed to return from his seven-year exile to Malta due to deteriorating health, Thanvi went to Deoband to see him. He mentions in his Malfoozat that a maulvi, who knew of Thanvi’s opposition to the idea of any resistance to colonial masters, reminded him that he was straying from the path of his jihadi elders. He apparently meant the jihad movement launched by Shah Ismail and Syed Ahmad (which was, incidentally, launched against the Sikh kingdom of Punjab). Thanvi retorted that he was aware of the fact that his buzurgs had “stood up” for jihad, but in the end they had “sat down” (meaning, abandoned it), and that he (Thanvi) was following their later stand which cancelled their earlier decision to launch jihad. He further comments that the underlying reasons for abandoning jihad in the earlier time were not only present in his own time but had become more severe. Thanvi does not say if he said the same thing to Maulana Mahmood-ul Hasan, who had clearly sided with political resistance.
Note: The writer has written a series of articles on this subject, other articles are also available on-line.
People should learn to live in 2011. Apt description, and good to know information. But not “need to know”.