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Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan

Last changed 2 January 2002

Long celebrated as the "Father of the Pakistani Bomb", A. Q. Khan deserves credit for providing Pakistan with the means for producing nuclear weapons, for without the uranium enrichment gas centrifuge plant built under Khan's leadership, using classified and proprietary plans and technology that he stole from his former employer URENCO, Pakistan would not now have the ability to build dozens of nuclear weapons. He has spent most of the last quarter century as the public face, indeed the very personification, of Pakistan's nuclear establishment. His frequent willingness to make colorful and inflammatory public statements ensured his notoriety and hold on the limelight, up until his surprise forced retirement in March 2001. But much of the credit he has been awarded - and has done nothing to discourage - for being virtually the sole force behind Pakistan's nuclear and missile programs is not deserved.

A. Q. Khan
Dr. Abdul Qadeer
Khan in 1993
A. Q. Khan
204x408, 12 K

The hero of Pakistan's nuclear weapons capability was born in present day India, in Bhopal State, in 1936 - the son of a teacher in a family of modest means. For five years, between the 1947 establishment of India as an independent state and 1952, Khan was a citizen of India. Then the Muslim Khan immigrated to Pakistan with his family as did millions of other Muslims before and after the 1947 partition of the two states. After graduating from school in Karachi he went to Europe in 1961 to continue his studies. First in Germany he attended the Technische Universität of West Berlin, then in Holland where he received a degree in metallurgical engineering at the Technical University of Delft in 1967. Eventually Khan received a Ph.D. in metallurgy from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 1972.

After graduation Khan went to work for the Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory (FDO), a subsidiary of Verenigde Machine-Fabrieken, in Amsterdam in May 1972. FDO was a subcontractor to Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland (UCN) - the Dutch partner of the tri-national European uranium enrichment centrifuge consortium URENCO, made up of Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Since Khan had lived in Europe from 1961 on and was married to a Dutch national (as the Dutch security service BVD believed) the very personable Khan had little trouble getting a security clearance - a limited security clearance. Curiously Khan's wife Henny was not Dutch though, but a Dutch-speaking South African holding a British passport.

Elementary principals of security were not, it seems, observed by any part of the URENCO establishment. Routine procedures, such as wearing identification badges marked with the level of clearance appear to have been unknown. Once someone gained access to part of a facility with one level of clearance, there seem to have been few if any barriers to moving to higher level areas. The customary practice of checking the security clearance level of a person before signing out to classified documents to them appears to have been ignored.

Within a week of starting with FDO A. Q. Khan was sent to the UCN enrichment facility in Almelo, Netherlands. A visit to an external facility would normally require the transmittal of security paperwork to be granted access. This procedure was ignored by both FDO and UCN, because Khan was not cleared to visit the UCN facility, though he would do so repeatedly during his employment.

The multi-lingual engineer was tasked with translating highly classified technical documents describing the centrifuges in detail. In the course of this work, he often took the documents home, with FDO's consent, even though this was also a breach of normal procedure. In his first two years Khan worked with two early centrifuge designs, the CNOR and SNOR machines, then in late 1974 UCN asked Khan to translate highly classified design documents for two advanced German machines, the G-1 and G-2. These represented the most sophisticated industrial enrichment technology in the world at the time.

Khan spent 16 days over the course of a month in the highest security area of the Almelo facility while studying these machines. During this period he had unsupervised access, and was noted roaming around, writing notes in a foreign script, but with the lax security culture no attempts to stop him or investigate his activities [Weissman and Krosney 1981; pp. 175-179], [Burrows and Windrem 1994; pp. 362-364].

Shahid-ur-Rehman relates in his book The Long Road to Chagai that Khan wrote to the Prime Minister in September 1974 offering his services to Pakistan, which means that he had definitely begun his espionage activities by the time he went to work with the G-2 and G-2. Evidence of the effect of Khan's passing of information on centrifuge technology and design, and on the URENCO component suppliers, to Pakistan can be seen in the initiation of the Pakistani purchase of components for the uranium enrichment program beginning in August 1975.

In January 1976, on (according to Khan) the invitation of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he suddenly left Europe with his family before his espionage was detected. The Khans's departure was deceptive, Henny wrote to neighbor's saying they were on vacation and Abdul had suddenly fallen ill. Khan later sent a letter of resignation, effective in March, to FDO from Pakistan.

A.Q. Khan initially worked under the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), headed by Munir Ahmad Khan. A small centrifuge pilot facility was initially set up at Sihala, several kilometers southeast of Islamabad. Friction quickly developed and in July 1976 Bhutto gave Khan autonomous control of the uranium enrichment project, reporting directly to the Prime Minister's office, an arrangement that has continued since. A.Q. Khan founded the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL) on 31 July 1976, a few kilometers from Sihala, outside Kahuta near Islamabad, with the exclusive task of indigenous development of Uranium Enrichment Plant. Construction on Pakistan's first centrifuges began that year. The PAEC under M. A. Khan went on to develop Pakistan's first generation of nuclear weapons in the 1980s [Perkovich 1999; pp. 308-309].

Due to Khan's efforts, the slow recognition of the program by western intelligence, and the weak export controls at the time, Pakistan made rapid progress in developing U-235 production capability. When export controls on nuclear usable materials were imposed on Pakistan in 1974, the focus was on technology applicable to plutonium production, not uranium enrichment, and the focus was on plants and complete systems, not components. By using Khan's detailed information of components and suppliers Pakistan was able to circumvent these controls.

According to Khan in a 1998 interview, the first enrichment was done at Kahuta on 4 April 1978. The plant was made operational in 1979 and by 1981 was producing substantial quantities of uranium.

In recognition of A. Q. Khan's contributions the ERL was renamed the A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) by President Zia ul-Haq on 1 May 1981.

A later Dutch security enquiry revealed that Khan had probably appropriated much of the UCN facility's secrets. Starting in 1978, he was also named in numerous other Western inquiries and media reports about secret purchasing operations for components for Pakistan's uranium enrichment plant.

Khan acknowledges he did take advantage of his experience of many years of working on similar projects in Europe and his contacts there with various manufacturing firms, but denies engaging in nuclear espionage for which a court in Amsterdam sentenced him in absentia in 1983 to four years in prison. An appeals court two years later upheld his appeal against the conviction and quashed the sentence for failure to properly deliver a summons to him.

The prosecution had the option to renew the charges and issue a fresh summons for trial, but given the impossibility of serving him a summons behind the curtain of Pakistani security the Dutch government decided against pursuing the case any further - a fact that Khan claims as an admission that there was no substance to the case.

"The information I had asked for was ordinary technical information available in published literature for many decades," Khan said in a speech afterwards about his two letters to his contacts that became the basis for his prosecution.

"I had requested for it as we had no library of our own at that time."

Of course the classified documents he undoubtedly copied and sent to Pakistan, as well as his written notes were not in the possession of Dutch security and thus could not be used to build a case against him.

Khan insists that the Pakistani centrifuge program is indigenous and that the equipment used in it was developed and manufactured locally. In 1990 Khan declared "All the research work was the result of our innovation and struggle. We did not receive any technical know-how from abroad, but we can't reject the use of books, magazines and research papers in this connection." [Burrows and Windrem 1994; pp. 368]

It has been reported that a CIA analyses of Pakistan's huge purchasing program showed that they had succeeded in obtaining at least one of almost every component needed to build a centrifuge enrichment plant [Weissman and Krosney 1981; pp. 190].

The notion - expressed by Khan - that his personal access to detailed classified and proprietary ultracentrifuge designs was coincidental to his role in leading Pakistan's enrichment program, that he declined to employ the knowledge he had gained at FDO to assist Pakistan's program in constructing an enrichment plant in five years, and that the wholesale importation of the entire technology suite required to build a European-designed centrifuge plant does not constitute "technical know-how from abroad" cannot be taken seriously, to say the least.

The massive purchases of foreign equipment - continuing up through the purchase of ring magnets from China in the mid-90s, show heavy dependence on foreign technology and components. But even so, the plants themselves are Pakistani developments -- Pakistan had to design and build the facilities, assemble the systems from components, while manufacturing components themselves that they could not obtain in sufficient number. This is quite unlike reactors and plutonium separation plants that other proliferating countries have acquired ready-made and were trained to operate by their suppliers.

Khan, because of the secrecy enveloping Pakistan's nuclear program, has lived heavily guarded by security men. Over the years there have been a number of incidents involving encounters between foreigners and the heavy-handed security surrounding Khan and KRL. In late July 1979, unidentified men stopped and beat severely the French Ambassador and his First Secretary as they were driving by Khan's laboratories in Kahuta. A few weeks later in August a journalist for the Financial Times named Chris Sherwell trying to locate Khan's house to conduct an interview in Islamabad was beaten up and then arrested and charged with fictitious crimes, forcing him to leave the country. Later a British diplomat's son was detained by police after losing his way in the Islamabad district that houses Khan [Weissman and Krosney 1981; pp. 193], [Henderson 1993].

Despite the secrecy and security, Khan has taken the public spotlight on numerous occasions, attracting some criticism for seeking publicity in contrast to his more discrete counterpart in India, Abdul Kalam.

It was on such an occasion - an interview in February 1984 - that he first made the claim that Pakistan had achieved nuclear weapons capability.

A. Q. Khan after tests
A. Q. Khan talking to
journalists on 31 May
1998 after the second
nuclear test.
A. Q. Khan with medal
A. Q. Khan displaying his
gold medal awarded by
Pakistani President
Rafiq Tarrar in Lahore
after the 1998 tests.
Read Khan's interview
with The News given after
the tests.

And when the 1986-87 Exercise Brasstacks crisis was at its height on 28 January 1987 - an outbreak of warfare between India and Pakistan seemed imminent due to a confrontation over military exercises near the border - A.Q. Khan made threatening remarks regarding Pakistani nuclear retaliation to Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar, apparently intending that they be conveyed to the Indian government. Nayar however shopped the story around for a few weeks, and it was not published until 1 March, after the matter had been resolved. Nonetheless it left a lingering sense of nuclear threat with India.

Khan's public pronouncements also helped generate the tense atmosphere in which India's 1998 nuclear tests were conducted. In an inauspiciously timed visit, Bill Richardson led a high level U.S. delegation that visited New Delhi and then Pakistan on 15 April. During the visit Khan, told the Urdu daily Ausaf "We are ready to carry out nuclear explosion anytime and the day this political decision will be made, we will show the world," during an informal chat with journalists. "We have achieved uranium enrichment capability way back in 1978 and after that several times we asked different governments to grant us permission to carry out a nuclear test. But we did not get the permission," the daily quoted him as saying. Asked when Pakistan would carry out a nuclear test, Dr. Khan was quoted as having said, "Get permission from the government." Khan was not a spokesman for the government at the time, but he remained extremely influential and was still closely connected with the corridors of power in Pakistan.

As a result, not everyone in Pakistan holds Khan in awe. Some who have worked with him remember him as a egomaniacal lightweight given to exaggerating his expertise. "Most of the scientists who work on weapons are serious. They are sobered by the weight of what they don't know," said Munir Ahmad Khan, the former head of the PAEC. "Khan is a showman."

Despite his extreme prominence (Khan is one of the most famous men in Pakistan) and undoubted importance in Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear weapons, A. Q. Khan was never in charge of the actual development of nuclear weapons themselves (despite common assumptions to the contrary, which Khan did nothing to discourage). Weapons development, and their eventual testing, was carried out by the PAEC.

During the 1990s Khan lived in a spacious single-story house, located in Islamabad near the Faisal mosque, with his wife Henny and two daughters. The road outside his house is a public thoroughfare, but there are safety bumps in the road surface to slow traffic and a permanent security post is opposite the house. On the road, his car is escorted by four-wheel drive security vehicles with sirens and lights blaring and flashing.

Khan keeps a small menagerie of pets. Each day at sunrise, he takes a sackful of peanuts when he walks into the wooded Margala Hills across from his home and feeds the monkeys. Declared Khan, the day after his country exploded another nuclear device, "I am the kindest man in Pakistan. I feed the ants in the morning. I feed the monkeys."

Abdul Qadeer Khan's official career came to an abrupt end in March 2001, when he and PAEC Chairman Ishfaq Ahmed were suddenly retired by order of General (and now President) Pervez Musharraf. What prompted this move can only be speculated, but the Pakistani weapons program - which has been sponsored, run, and controlled by the military from its outset - is now mature, and it may be that Musharraf, who was busy mending fences with the outside world, wished to tie down some loose cannons that were a source of irritation with India and the United States. Both men were offered the post of "adviser to the chief executive", which Khan eventually rejected after much vacillation. Khan is now described as "Special Adviser to the Chief Executive on Strategic and KRL Affairs" a wholly ceremonial title. ([Mushtaq 2001], [Guinnessy 2001]).

Reuters and Los Angeles Times news reports were used in preparing this article.


Prof. Abdul Qadeer Khan

After receiving his early education in Bhopal, Dr Abdul Quadeer Khan obtained the degree of  Bachelor of Science in 1960 from the University of Karachi. He went on to study in Berlin , West Germany and achieved high competence through attending several courses in metallurgical  engineering. He obtained the degree of Master of Science (Technology ) in 1967 from Delft Technological University of Leuven, Belgium. In 1976, he joined the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL) in Pakistan and set up an uranium enrichment industrial plant. As a tribute to his services to Pakistan , during May 1981 , the then president of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq renamed the Engineering Research Laboratories, Kahuta, as, Dr Abdul Quadeer Khan Research Laboratories (KRL).

The scientific contributions of Dr Khan have been recognized in several ways. As an active scientist and technologist, he has published more than 188 scientific research papers in international journals of high repute. He has been editor of a large number of books on metallurgy, advanced materials and phase transformation. His academic and scholastic activities have attracted the attention of number of western countries where he has delivered more than 100 lectures. His work on Industrial Uranium Enrichment Plant for peaceful application of nuclear technology has resulted in a breakthrough in the field of metallurgy and materials science. It is entirely due to his efforts that the process of enrichment of Uranium was successfully completed in Pakistan . This breakthrough ultimately resulted in the historic explosion of six nuclear bombs in May 1998 . Not only this but a significant development was also made with the successful test firing of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles, Ghauri 1 , in April 1998 and Ghauri II in April 1999. Dr Khan has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from the University of Karachi in 1993, Doctor of Science from Baqai Medical University on (1998), Doctor of Science from Hamdard University, Karachi (1999) and Doctor of Science from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore in December 2000. For his contributions in the field of science and technology, the President of Pakistan conferred upon Dr Khan the award of Nishan-I-Imtiaz 1996 and 1998. Dr Khan is the only Pakistani to have received the highest civil award of “Nishan-I-Imtiaz’’ twice. He is also a recipient of Hilal-I-Imtiaz.

Dr Khan is a Fellow of Kazakh National Academy of Sciences, the first Asian scientist with this honour, elected Fellow of the Islamic Academy of Sciences and Honorary Member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology.  He was elected unopposed to the post of President of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences in 1997-a position that he still occupies. He is a member of many national and international professional organizations including the Pakistan  Institute of Metallurgical Engineers; Pakistan Institute of Engineers; and Institute of Central and West Asian Studies.He is a Member of the Institute of Materials, London; American Society of Metals (ASM); Canadian Institute of Metals (CIM) and Japan Institute of Metals (JIM). Prof. A Q Khan sits on the Boards of Governors of numerous universities and institutes. He is a Member of the Executive Committee, GIK Institute of Engineering and Technology; Member, Board of Governors, Hamdard University; Member, Board of Governors, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology; Member Syndicate, Quaidi-I-Azam university, Islamabad ; and Member, Board of Governors, International Islamic University, Islamabad.

Prof. Abdul Quadeer Khan Chairman, Dr. Reserch, Laboratories,P.O.Box 502, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.


Salimuzzaman Siddiqui

name = Prof Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui

image_width =
caption =
birth_date = birth date|df=yes|1897|10|19
birth_place = Lucknow, British India
death_date = death date and age|df=yes|1994|4|14|1897|10|19
death_place = Karachi, Pakistan
residence =
citizenship =
nationality = i
ethnicity =
field = Organic chemistry
work_institution = PCSIR, H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, Karachi University
alma_mater = Aligarh University
doctoral_advisor = Julius Von Bram
doctoral_students = Atta ur Rahman
known_for = Natural products research, chemical constituents of Neem
author_abbreviation_bot =
author_abbreviation_zoo =
prizes = Fellow of the Royal Society, "Hilal-e-Imtiaz", MBE, Pride of Performance, "Sitara-e-Imtiaz", "Tamgha-e-Pakistan"
religion = Islam
footnotes =

Prof Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui (Urdu سلیم الزّماںصدّیقی; pronounced|səliːmʊzəmã sɪðiqi) (19 October 1897 - 14 April 1994) was a leading Pakistani scientist in natural products chemistry. He is credited for pioneering the isolation of unique chemical compounds from the Neem ("Azadirachta indica"), Rauwolfia, and various other flora. As the founder director of H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, he revolutionised the research on pharmacology of various domestic plants found in South Asia to extract novel chemical substances of medicinal importance.Akhtar (1996), pp. 400-417] In addition to his scientific talents, Siddiqui was also a painter, a poet, and a great connoisseur of music. His paintings were exhibited in Germany, India, and Pakistan.

Early life

Siddiqui was born in Subeha (Barabanki District) near Lucknow on 19 October 1897. He received his early education from Lucknow, both in the Urdu and Persian languages, and soon developed interest in literature, poetry, and calligraphy from his father Sheikh Muhammad Zaman. After completing his matriculation, he joined the Calcutta School of Arts, and became a pupil of Rabindranath Tagore, the founder of the famous Bengal School of painting. He graduated in Philosophy and Persian language, from M.A.O College (that would later become Aligarh University) in 1919.

In 1920, Siddiqui proceeded to University College London to read medicine. However, after one year of pre-medical studies, he moved to Frankfurt University in 1921 to read chemistry. In 1924, he married his German classmate, Ethel Wilhelmina Schneeman. He received Doctor of Philosophy under the supervision of Prof Julius Von Bram in 1927.

On his return, he established the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbi Research Institute at the Tibbia College Delhi, under the guidance of Hakim Ajmal Khan. He was appointed its first Director. However, soon after the death of Hakim Ajmal Khan, Siddiqui left the post. In 1940, he joined Indian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research where he worked until 1951 when he migrated to Pakistan on the request of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan.Sandilvi, A.N. (2003). [http://www.dawn.com/weekly/science/archive/030412/science5.htm Salimuzzaman Siddiqui: pioneer of scientific research in Pakistan] . Daily Dawn. 12 April 2003. Retrieved on 19 July 2007.]

Pioneering research

Siddiqui's first breakthrough in research came when he successfully isolated an antiarrhythmic agent in 1931 [Siddiqui and Siddiqui (1931). pp. 667-680.] from the roots of Rauwolfia serpentina. He named the newly discovered chemical compound as "Ajmaline", after his mentor Hakim Ajmal Khan who was one of the illustrious practitioners of Unani system of medicine in South Asia. Later on, Siddiqui also extracted other alkaloids from Rauwolfia serpentina that included "Ajmalinine", "Ajmalicine" (C21H24N2O3), "Isoajmaline", "Neoajmaline", "Serpentine" and "Serpentinine". Many of these are still used worldwide for treatment of mental disorders and cardiovascular ailments, especially as antiarrhythmic agents in Brugada syndrome. [Hong, Brugada, et al (2004)]

Discoveries from Neem

Siddiqui was the first scientist to bring the anthelmintic, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral constituents of the Neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists. In 1942, he extracted three bitter compounds from neem oil, which he named as "nimbin", "nimbinin", and "nimbidin" respectively. [Ganguli (2002). p. 1304] The process involved extracting the water insoluble components with ether, petrol ether, ethyl acetate and dilute alcohol. The provisional naming was "nimbin" (sulphur-free crystalline product with melting point at 205 °C, empirical composition C7H10O2), "nimbinin" (with similar principle, melting at 192 °C), and "nimbidin" (cream-coloured containing amorphous sulphur, melting at 90–100 °C). Siddiqui identified "nimbidin" as the main active anti-bacterial ingredient, and the highest yielding bitter component in the neem oil. [Siddiqui (1942). pp. 278–279] These compounds are stable and found in substantial quantities in the Neem. They also serve as natural insecticides.Sidhu et al (2004), pp. 69-75.]

In acknowledgement of these revolutionary discoveries, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1946.

In his later career, Siddiqui continued to discover and isolate numerous unique anti-bacterial compounds from various parts (leaves, bark, etc.) of the Neem [Ara, Siddiqui et al. (1989). pp. 343-345] and other plants. [Siddiqui et al (1989)] He had more than 50 chemical compounds patented in his name in addition to those discovered as a result of his joint research with other colleagues and students. [ [http://www.iccs.edu/patentsIccs.html List of Patents] at [http://www.iccs.edu/ ICCS] website. Retrieved on 8 June 2008.] Most of these discoveries still remain vital natural ingredients of various medicines [Hong, Brugada, et al (2004)] as well as biopesticides.

Research leadership

After the emergence of Pakistan in 1947, Siddiqui was entrusted by the Government of Pakistan in 1951 to organise scientific research activities. In 1953,he founded the Pakistan Academy of Sciences as a non-political think tank of distinguished scientists in the country. [He remained President of the Academy between 1967-69. (See [http://www.paspk.org/former.htm List of past Presidents of PAS] . Retrieved on 5 June 2008.] During the same year, he also established the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) in Karachi. The aim of PCSIR was to support the industrial infrastructure through research and development. The regional laboratories of the institution were located in Dhaka, Rajshahi and Chittagong (East Pakistan), and in Lahore and Peshawar (West Pakistan). In recognition of his scientific leadership, Frankfurt University granted him the degree of D.Med. "Honoris causa" in 1958. Also in 1958, the Government of Pakistan awarded him with "Tamgha-e-Pakistan". In 1960, he became the President of Pan-Indian Ocean Science Association. The next year, in 1961, Siddiqui was made Fellow of the Royal Society, following which he was given the "Sitara-e-Imtiaz" for distinguished merit in the fields of science and medicine, in 1962. Siddiqui remained the director and chairman of PCSIR until the time of his retirement in 1966. In that year, the President of Pakistan awarded him the Pride of Performance Medal for the respectable completion of his service.

In 1967, Siddiqui was invited by University of Karachi to set up a Postgraduate Institute of Chemistry in affiliation with the Department of Chemistry. He was designated as the institute's Founder Director, whereas the additional research staff was provided by PCSIR. [ [http://www.urbanpk.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11147 Karachi: Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry] at [http://www.urbanpk.com UrbanPK] . Retrieved on 5 june 2008.] In 1976, the institute was offered a generous donation from Hussain Jamal Foundation, as a result of which it was renamed as Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry. In due time, Siddiqui transformed the institute into a distinguished centre of international excellence in the field of chemistry and natural products. In March 1975, he headed the National Commission for Indigenous Medicines [ [http://www.myhomeopathic.com/html/Homeopathy_in_Pakistan/ Homeopathic in Pakistan] . Retrieved on 5 June 2008.] His tireless efforts for the promotion of science and technology earned him "Hilal-e-Imtiaz" by the Government of Pakistan in 1980. In 1983, he played a major role in the establishment of the Third World Academy of Sciences and became its Founding Fellow. [ [http://users.ictp.it/~twas/mbrs/FormerMembers.html List of former members of The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World] . Retrieved on 5 June 2008.] He remained the director of the Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry until 1990. Later on, he continued research in his personal laboratory.

Death and legacy

Siddiqui died on 14 April 1994 due to cardiac arrest after a brief illness in Karachi. He was buried in the Karachi University Graveyard. Despite his death, the academic and research institutes that he founded during more than 65 years of his research career are still contributing to the international level research in natural products chemistry.

As a person of multiple talents, Siddiqui was also a refined poet, musician, and a painter. In August 1924, he held his first international exhibition of paintings in Frankfurt. Later in 1927, his works of art were exhibited at the Uzielli Gallery, Frankfurt. During his stay in Germany, he also translated Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry into Urdu, which was published in the journal of Jamia Millia Islamia. Though, his passion for arts was superseded by the enthusiasm in scientific research, he continued to patronise arts and culture. In 1966, he was at the forefront for setting up the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts in Karachi. [ [http://www.bitsonline.net/takhtiart/artists_institute02.html Central Institute of Arts and Crafts] . at Takhti Exhibitions. Retrieved on 5 June 2008.] He also compiled a selection of poetry of Mir Taqi Mir into "Intekhab-e-Meer". In 1983, he published a portfolio collection of charcoal drawings from 1920 to 1950s.

On 14 April 1999, the Pakistan Post, as part of its 'Scientists of Pakistan' series, issued a commemorative stamp to honour the contributions and services of Siddiqui. [ [http://www.pakpost.gov.pk/philately/stamps99/salimuzzaman.html Introduction] at [http://www.pakpost.gov.pk/ Pakistan Post] website. Retrieved on 5 June 2008.] In the same year, the street leading to PCSIR Laboratories Complex in Karachi was named as "Shahrah-e-Dr. Salim-uz-Zaman Siddiqui". Siddiqui was also remembered by his students and colleagues, many of whom continued to dedicate their international research and publications to his memory. [Ali et al (1995). p. 12.] In 2002, a research article was published in the journal Tetrahedron in which, authors Faizi and Naz dedicated their break-through research to the memory of Siddiqui, their mentor. [Faizi and Naz (2002). p. 6185.]

Awards and honours

Siddiqui was a founder-member of the Indian and Pakistan Academies of Sciences, and later a founder member of the international body the Third World Academy of Sciences. The following are the honours he received, in reverse chronological order:
* Gold medal of the Soviet Academy of Sciences
* "Hilal-e-Imtiaz", 1980
* President of Pakistan's Pride of Performance Medal, 1966
* "Sitara-e-Imtiaz", 1962
* Fellow of the Royal Society, 1961
* President, Pan-Indian Ocean Science Association, 1960
* "Tamgha-e-Pakistan", 1958
* D. Med. "Honoris causa" from the Frankfurt University, 1958
* Foundation Fellow, Pakistan Academy of Sciences, 1953
* MBE in 1946.






August 2007

Born in Ankara in 1956, Adnan Oktar writes his books under the pen name of Harun Yahya. He is a world-renowned man of ideas. Ever since his university years, he has dedicated his life to telling of the existence and oneness of Almighty Allah, to disseminating the moral values of the Qur’an, to the intellectual defeat of materialist and atheist ideologies, to propagating the real Ataturk way and to defending the permanence of the state and the unity of the nation. He has never wavered in the face of difficulties and despite oppression from materialist, Darwinist and separatist circles, still continues this intellectual struggle today exhibiting great patience and determination.

A short biography of Adnan Oktar:

The forebears of Adnan Oktar, a sayyid, migrated to the Caucasus during Hulagu’s invasion, and subsequently sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire during the Ottoman-Russian and Russian-Caucasian wars, settling in Bala, Ankara. 

The origins of Beslen Arslan Kasayev, grandfather of Omer Bey, Mr. Oktar’s grandfather, go back to the Nogay dynasty. This family is also known as the Arslanogullari (the sons of Arslan) and is one of the twenty-one sayyid families whose names appear in a document prepared for the Caucasus governorship in 1827. 

Information concerning the surnames and family members of the Nogay sayyids living in the Kara Nogay and Yediskul region

Photocopy of an original document dated 17 July, 1827, in the Russian Federation Stavropol Federal Archive. Archive No. 48, Vol. 2, File No. 853. This historical document contains details of the identities and families of the Nogay sayyids living in the Kara Nogay and Yediskul regions. The record concerning Beslen Arslan, the grand grandfather of Adnan Oktar and his family appear under No. 3 in the list. Mr. Oktar’s grandfather, Omer Bey, was born in the Caucasus and settled in the Ankara township of Bala in 1902. Omer Bey’s father was Haji Yusuf, and Haji Yusuf’s father is Beslen Arslan (Kasayev) recorded as a sayyid in the Russian archive.



             Family Members




1. Nugay Kaplanov and family



2. Yusuf Ali Aysoltanov and family






4. Han Muhambet Ismailov and family



5. Muhambet Kantemirov and family



6. Mengligirey Tilenchiyev and family



7. Yanseyit Abdullayev and family



8. Gazi Inal Batirburzayev and family



9.  Hayati Ahmetov and family



10. Nemin Yasenbi Adjiyev and family



11. Alibey Mamayev and family



12. Musousov and family



13. Alibek Soltanaliyev and family



14. Bekmurza Karamurzayev and family



15. Aslangirey Temirhanov and family



16. Alibey Temirov and family



17. Ali Mamayev and family



18. Beymurza Isterekov and family



19. Tausultan Temirhanov



20. Mamay Arslanov and family



21. Magomet Utepov and family



Total number of individuals



Adnan Oktar’s father is listed as Yusuf Oktar Arslan in official records. The surname Arslan also appears in Russian records. 


One of Mr. Adnan Oktar's photos from his elementary school years

Born in Ankara in 1956, Adnan Oktar lived there through his high school years. During this period, his devotion to Islamic moral values grew even stronger. He deepened his profound knowledge of Islam by reading works of all the great Islamic scholars and decided to tell everyone about Islam’s moral values and summon them to a knowledge of truth and beauty.

To continue his education, he entered Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan University in 1979 coming in third from among thousands of candidates. Mr. Oktar, a talented artist since childhood who regards art as a manifestation of Allah’s superior creation, painted surrealist pictures from time to time and gave away a large number of paintings as gifts to friends. In addition, Mr. Oktar numbers animals, plants and flowers among his spheres of interest, as well as horticulture, interior design, and décor.



April 2007
When Adnan Oktar entered Mimar Sinan University, it was under the influence of various illegal Marxist-communist organizations. Aggressive atheist and materialist trends predominated among students as well as the academic staff. Indeed, some members of the teaching staff would seize every opportunity to propagandize on behalf of materialist philosophy and Darwinism, even though these subjects had nothing to do with the curriculum.

This environment accorded religion and moral values no respect, and rejected them almost entirely. The materialist view predominated. But Adnan Oktar began telling those around him of the invalidity of Darwinism, of the existence and oneness of Allah, and was the only person who prayed openly in the Molla Mosque, adjacent to the university.



November 2006
At night—as his mother, Mediha Oktar, relates—Adnan Oktar would sleep only a few hours and spend the rest of his time reading, taking notes and writing. He read hundreds of works including those dealing with Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, communism and materialist philosophy, and carried out detailed studies of the classics as well as more seldom-read texts. He also performed wide-ranging research into the theory of evolution—the alleged scientific foundation of these ideologies. Mr. Oktar collected considerable quantities of documents and detailed information revealing the increasing dilemmas faced by these superstitious philosophies—their quandaries, contradictions and falsehoods, all based on a denial of Allah—and used his accumulated knowledge to invite people to reality and truth. He spoke to everyone, university students and staff alike, about the existence and oneness of Allah and the moral values of the Qur’an. In conversations at the university canteen, and in breaks between classes, he outlined the deceptions of materialism and Darwinism, citing direct quotations from these ideologies’ original texts. These cultural activities of Mr. Oktar's had a great impact, and positive changes took place in the ideological thinking and beliefs of a great many people, including some members of the academic staff. 

Adnan Oktar attached special importance to refuting the theory of evolution. That was because he saw that ever since Darwinism’s first appearance, it had been subsumed by materialism and atheism. Aware that today, those same circles are still defending Darwinism and striving to keep it alive for ideological reasons, Adnan Oktar believes that eradicating Darwinism will hand those movements a major defeat.



August 2005

To that end, Adnan Oktar concentrated on proving the invalidity of this deception that for more than a century had turned people away from religious moral values. He realized that since Darwinism advanced itself in the name of science, the most effective means of revealing its true face was through science itself. Based on that viewpoint, he brought out a pamphlet entitled The Theory of Evolution, a summary of his wide-ranging research and study, and personally bore all the printing costs by selling property inherited from his family, and distributed the pamphlet free of charge to other university students.

Using an accessible and comprehensible style, this pamphlet demonstrated that evolution was a deception, with no scientific validity. Many people who read the pamphlet and spoke with Adnan Oktar came to agree that no living thing could come into being by chance, and that Almighty Allah created the universe and all living things in it.

Nonetheless some students in the university, blindly devoted to materialist thought, continued in denial, despite having seen the clear truth. Some militant students openly threatened Mr. Oktar, saying his life would be in danger unless he ceased his activities. Yet this only increased Mr. Oktar’s determination and devotion to Allah. The harsh reactions and alarm evinced by materialist circles were significant proof that he was on the right path.

In a university in which terror ruled, dominated by atheist and materialist movements, it was very difficult for anyone to freely expound his own views and defend his own beliefs.  During those years, while many young people in Turkey were ruthlessly slaughtered because of ideological tensions, Adnan Oktar openly preached the existence and oneness of Allah and of the truth of the Qur’an. In a university where no one had the courage to state his beliefs openly, he continued to pray regularly at the mosque, unwavering in the face of reactions and threats.


When Adnan Oktar began communicating Islamic values, he was quite alone. For more than three years nobody at Mimar Sinan University backed up his views, yet that did not alter his determination. Knowing that Allah was his only friend, he did all these things solely to gain His approval.

August 2007

He devoted all his time, energy and means to a single purpose: earning the good pleasure, mercy and Paradise of Allah, and telling all mankind about religious moral values.

In 1982, the first few students at Mimar Sinan University decided to align themselves with Adnan Oktar in his intellectual struggle. As months passed, the numbers of people adopting these ideas rose. Adnan Oktar held conversations with these young people on love of country; the importance of following in the great leader Ataturk’s path; the proofs of Creation; the exemplary moral values of our Prophet (saas); the moral values revealed in the Qur’an by our Lord; and the invalidity of materialism, atheism and Darwinism. From this time onward, Adnan Oktar was a vehicle by which many people came to believe and live by the moral values of religion.



September 2007


A photo of Mr. Adnan Oktar while he was in Bakirkoy Mental Hospital.
His intellectual activities opposing materialism and atheism began to elicit reactions from wider circles. Certain groups, alarmed by Adnan Oktar’s nationalist and religious activities, set up a major conspiracy against him. Their plot coincided with the publication of his work Judaism and Freemasonry, which provoked an enormous response.

In the summer of 1986, Adnan Oktar was arrested, with no rightful legal ground whatsoever, for having stated, “I am a member of the Turkish People, and of the Nation of Ibrahim,” in an interview carried by a newspaper. Again under the influence of the circles mentioned above, deceitful reports, groundless information and slanders about him began appearing in various publications.

Adnan Oktar was first arrested and imprisoned. He was confined in a one-man cell for nine months. He was then chained by the foot to a bed in the Forensic Medicine Department for 40 days. He was then transferred to the Bakirkoy Mental Hospital on the grounds of being mentally unhealthy and placed under observation in ward 14A, poorly maintained, filthy, and used to house the most dangerous inmates. Ward 14A, which housed 300 mental patients, was in a stone building left over from the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid and could be entered only by passing through a number of locked iron doors, since killings among patients were viewed as nothing out of the ordinary. During Mr. Oktar's time there, seven murders were committed.



In addition, he was forcibly given drugs blurring consciousness. Those who managed to visit him witnessed that he had lost none of his determination and enthusiasm at this time. Postgraduate students, nurses and even doctors were prohibited from seeing him, out of concerns that he would turn them to Islamic moral values. Shortly afterwards, his relatives and friends were also banned from visiting him, and even telephone calls were forbidden. He was threatened with spending the rest of his life in the hospital unless he abandoned his intellectual activities. Certain circles strongly suggested that if he ceased publication of Judaism and Freemasonry, he could immediately be released from hospital and spend the rest of his life in comfort. Financial incentives were also offered if he would hand over all the book’s research materials. But he rejected all these offers, refusing to bow to the threats and pressure that only enhanced his determination.


After Oktar had been detained for 19 months, the Prosecutor’s Office determined there was “no offence in the statements uttered.” He was declared innocent and released.

The report issued by the Gulhane Military Medical Academy (GATA) confirming Adnan Oktar’s SANITY, however, was never once mentioned by the press. After being depicted as mentally ill for 20 years, a Military Hospital report confirmed that he was completely sane. 


During this period, Mr. Oktar continued his work on revealing that Darwinism is a terrible deception. In 1986 he collected all his research on Darwinism’s true face in the book Living Things and Evolution, which for many years, was used as the sole reference showing the scientific invalidity of the theory of evolution.

August 2007



Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 (300 years after the death of Galileo) in Oxford, England. His parents' house was in north London, but during the second world war, Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies. When he was eight, his family moved to St. Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London. At the age of eleven, Stephen went to St. Albans School and then on to University College, Oxford; his father's old college. Stephen wanted to study Mathematics, although his father would have preferred medicine. Mathematics was not available at University College, so he pursued Physics instead. After three years and not very much work, he was awarded a first class honours degree in Natural Science.

Stephen then went on to Cambridge to do research in Cosmology, there being no one working in that area in Oxford at the time. His supervisor was Denis Sciama, although he had hoped to get Fred Hoyle who was working in Cambridge. After gaining his Ph.D. he became first a Research Fellow and later on a Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. After leaving the Institute of Astronomy in 1973, Stephen came to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and since 1979, has held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. The chair was founded in 1663 with money left in the will of the Reverend Henry Lucas who had been the Member of Parliament for the University. It was first held by Isaac Barrow and then in 1669 by Isaac Newton.

Stephen Hawking has worked on the basic laws which govern the universe. With Roger Penrose he showed that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes. These results indicated that it was necessary to unify General Relativity with Quantum Theory, the other great Scientific development of the first half of the 20th Century. One consequence of such a unification that he discovered was that black holes should not be completely black, but rather should emit radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear. Another conjecture is that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time. This would imply that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science.

His many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G F R Ellis, General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey, with W Israel, and 300 Years of Gravity, with W Israel. Stephen Hawking has three popular books published; his best seller A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, and most recently in 2001, The Universe in a Nutshell. There are .pdf and .ps versions of his full publication list.

Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and one grandchild), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive programme of travel and public lectures.




Dr Muhammad Hamidullah (1909-2002)


    Professor Dr Muhammad Hamidullah, widely known across the Islamic world, in the Indian subcontinent and in Europe and North America for his seminal and outstanding contributions to the advancement of Islamic learning and to the dissemination of Islamic teachings in the Western world, passed away on 17th December 2002. He was 94. (To Allah we belong and unto Him shall we return).
    Professor Hamidullah belonged to an illustrious family of scholars, jurists, writers and sufis. His ancestors migrated from Arabia a few centuries ago. The distinguished sufi scholar ‘Ala al-Din ‘Ali Ibn Ahmad Al-Maha’imi (d. 1431), who is buried in Mumbai, Habibullah Bijapuri, an eminent sufi of the Deccan, and Muhammad Husayn Shahid, the last principal of the famed madrasah set up by the Brahman vizier Mahmud Gawan, were among his illustrious ancestors. Professor Hamidullah’s great grandfather Mawlvi Muhammad Ghaws Sharfu’l-Mulk (d. 1238/1822) was well versed in Arabic and Islamic studies. He wrote more than 30 books in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. One of his important works is a commentary on the Qur’an, Nathru’l-Marjan fi Rasm Nazmi’l-Qur’an, in seven volumes. Professor Hamidullah’s maternal grandfather, Qadi Muhammad Sibghatullah (d. 1280/1863) was an accomplished scholar who wrote, among other books, a commentary on the Qur’an. Nawab Ghulam Ghaws Khan, the ruler of Madras, appointed him as Chief Judge in 1272/1855.
    Professor Hamidullah’s father, Mufti Abu Muhammad Khalilullah, was a scholar of considerable accomplishments. He migrated from Madras to Hyderabad where he was appointed director of the revenue Department in the Nizam’s government. He set up the first non-interest financial institution in Hyderabad. He passed away in 1363/1943.
    Professor Hamidullah was born in Hyderabad. He was the youngest among the three brothers and five sisters, who were all well versed in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, as well as in Islamic learning. He received his early education at home, first from his sisters and then from his father. Later he was admitted in the Madrasah Nizamiyyah where he passed the examination for the degree for Mawlvi Kamil with distinction in 1924. His father had misgivings about Western education. Aware of his father’s antipathy towards English education, the young Hamidullah secretively sat for the matriculation examination and, when the results were declared, topped the list of successful candidates. His father, who came to know about his son’s dazzling success through the local newspaper, sent for him. The young scholar came to the father with trepidation, fearing that he would get a reprimand for having appeared for an English exam, and that too without the father’s permission. However, the young Hamidullah got a pleasant surprise when, instead of scolding, his father expressed his whole-hearted appreciation and joy over his son’s achievement and told him to carry on with his education. His father’s affection and encouragement kept him in good stead in the years to come.
    Professor Hamidullah took admission in Osmania University in 1924 and passed the B.A., LL.B., and M.A. examinations in the first division. He was awarded a fellowship by the Osmania University to pursue doctoral studies in International Islamic Law. He traveled to several Islamic as well as European countries for the purpose of collecting information for his research. He was awarded D. Phil by the Bonn University in 1932. In recognition of his outstanding ability and his proficiency in several oriental languages, he was appointed a lecturer in Arabic and Urdu at Bonn University. After spending some time in Germany, he came to Paris where he registered at the Sorbonne University for another doctoral degree. In a short period of 11 months, Sorbonne University conferred on him the degree of D. Litt. During his stay in Europe, Professor Hamidullah had an opportunity to visit Istanbul. He visited the famed libraries and museums of Istanbul and saw, to his delight and amazement, thousands of rare Islamic manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages. Excited, he wrote to his father that he had seen a rare manuscript of Dhahabi’s Duwalu’l-Islam in one of the libraries of Istanbul. His sister, who also read the letter, wrote back to him, saying that he did not seem to remember that a copy of his manuscript was in their ancestral collection and that it had a few missing pages. She requested him to obtain the photographs of the missing pages and bring them home.
    Professor Hamidullah returned to Hyderabad in 1938 and was immediately appointed a lecturer in Islamic Fiqh and later in International Islamic Law at the Osmania University. Following the amalgamation of the erstwhile Hyderabad state into the Indian Union in 1948, Professor Hamidullah migrated to Paris. He took up an assignment with Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in 1954, which ended in 1978. During this period, he also lectured at several universities in Turkey. Some of his former students, such as Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Director-General, Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture, Istanbul, and Professor Salih Tug, former Dean, Faculty of Theology, Marama University, occupy important positions in universities and research centers in Turkey and other Islamic countries. In a scholarly career spanning seven decades, Professor Hamidullah wrote extensively across a wide spectrum of Islamic disciplines, including the translation of the Qur’an in French, English and German, Hadith, biography of Prophet Muhammad (sws), Fiqh, Islamic International Law, Islamic History, and Arabic epigraphy. He wrote over a hundred books and over 1000 articles in seven languages, including French, German, English, Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Urdu. No other contemporary Muslim scholar can match his exceptional proficiency in several languages. He knew 22 languages, including Thai, which he learnt at the age of 84. Professor Hamidullah is the only scholar in the world to have translated the Qur’an in three European languages: French, English and German. The French translation has an interesting background. Some time in the 1950s, Professor Hamidullah heard a knock at his door. The caller introduced himself as a local publisher who was interested in bringing out a French translation of the Holy Qur’an. He gave a reference of the celebrated French Orientalist Louis Massignon, who had suggested that he should approach Professor Hamidullah for doing the French translation because he believed that no one else was better suited for this challenging and formidable task. Professor Hamidullah felt that the French translation of the Qur’an, or its translation in any language for that matter, should in some measure convey the incomparable eloquence, majesty and persuasiveness of the original Arabic text. The thought that French was not his mother tongue and therefore he would not be able to do justice to the translation weighed rather heavily on his mind. When he expressed his anxiety on this count to the publisher, the latter suggested a remedial measure; Professor Hamidullah could render the text of the Qur’an into French and the language of the translation could be polished and refined by a French man of letters. He, therefore, agreed to do the translation. This translation was first published in Paris in 1959. It has undergone over 30 reprints and the last edition has sold over two million copies. It remains the largest selling and the most widely read translation of the Holy Qur’an in any European language.
Parts of the English translation of the Qur’an by Professor Hamidullah were published from South Africa in 1960. The German translation, though complete, remains unpublished. Professor Hamidullah’s abiding interest in the translation and interpretation of the Qur’an is reflected in his book, The Qur’an in Every Language, wherein details about the translations of the Qur’an in 125 languages, together with the translation of the first chapter of the Qur’an in each of these languages, have been provided. The book was published in 1939.
    Professor Hamidullah’s contribution to the literature on Sirah (Prophet Muhammad’s (sws) biography) is marked by a refreshing originality and acuity of insight. His first book on the subject, published in 1935, deals with the diplomatic correspondence of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions (rta). His major Arabic book Al-Watha’iq al-Siyasiyyah, first published from Cairo in 1941, contains the texts, with critical notes and references, of more than 300 documents, including correspondence, treaties, proclamations and assurances, pertaining to the period of the Prophet (sws) and the four Caliphs. His French book Six Originaux des letters diplomatiques du Porphete e I’Islam, contains a comprehensive and exhaustive discussion in the light of classical as well as contemporary sources, on six of the Prophet’s letters whose original texts have been preserved. Professor Hamidullah’s biography of the Prophet (sws) in French entitled Le Prophet de I’Islam, first published in two volumes in 1959, has undergone several reprints and has been translated into several languages. He wrote a biography of the Prophet (sws) in English entitled Muhammad Rasulallah (sws) a short treatise, entitled The Battlefields of Prophet Muhammad (sws) in English and Urdu, combines information gleaned from the classical sources as well as from field work and topographical maps relating to the sites associated with the Prophet’s military expeditions. Another significant work of Professor Hamidullah is Muslim Conduct of State, first published in 1941, which deals with theory and practice of statecraft in the early Islamic period.
    A highly significant and original contribution of Professor Hamidullah pertains to the discovery, editing and translations of some rare and invaluable manuscripts relating to Hadith, Sirah, Fiqh, Islamic history, biographical literature and medicine. These include the following:

1. Sahifah Hammam Ibn Munabbih by Hammam Ibn Munabbih (d. 101 A.H), published from Damascus in 1953, Urdu and English translation were published from Hyderabad in 1955 and 1961.
2. Kitabu’l-Mubtada wa’l Mab‘ath wal-Maghazi by Ibn Ishaq (d. 151 AH) published from Rabat in 1976.
3. Ansabu’l-Ashraf by Baladhuri (d. 892 AH), published from Egypt in 1959.
4. Kitabu’l-Riddah by Waqidi (d. 807 AH), published from Damascus in 1964.
5. Al-Dhakha’ir wa’l-Tuhaf by Qadi Rashid Ibn Zubayr (d. 563 A.H.), published from Kuwait in 1959.
6. Ma‘danu’l-Jawahir fi tarikhi’l-Basrah wa’l-Jaza’ir, by Shaykh Nu‘man Ibn Muhammad, published from Islamabad, Pakistan in 1973.
7. Kitabu’l-Nabat, by Abu Hanifah al-Dinawari (d. 882 A.H), published from Cairo in 1973; the English translation of the book by Professor Hamidullah was published from Pakistan.
8. Kitabu’l-Sard wa’l-Fard fi Saha’ifi’l-Akhbar, by Isma‘il al-Qazwini, the text, together with the English translation, was published from Islamabad, Pakistan in 1411 A.H.
9. Sunan Sa‘id Ibn Mansur (a rare manuscript of this invaluable collection of Hadith was discovered by Professor Hamidullah in Turkey. It was edited by Mawlana Habibu’l-Rahman al-Azami, with an introduction by Professor Hamidullah, and Published from Dabhel, Gujarat in 1968)
    Professor Hamidullah translated Sarakhsi’s celebrated work Sharhu’-Siyar al-Kabir in French. Parts of this translation, running into 3000 pages, were published from Ankara. Imam Bukhari’s celebrated work Al-Sahih was rendered into French by some Western Orientalists. Professor Hamidullah compared the French translation with the original Arabic text and identified hundreds of errors in the translation. This book, comprising 600 pages, was published from Paris. He prepared a detailed and exhaustive index of Imam Bukhari’s Al-Sahih in Arabic and French. Professor Hamidullah wrote books for the general reader as well. Mention should be made of Introduction to Islam, first published in 1957, which has been reprinted several times and has been translated into 22 languages.
Professor Hamidullah made an invaluable contribution to the dissemination and popularity of Islamic teachings and ideals in Europe in general and in France in particular through his writings, lectures and his personal charisma. The resurgence of Islamic consciousness among educated Muslims in the Western countries and the wave of conversion to Islam that is sweeping across Western Europe owes a great deal to his intellectual, moral and personal influence. Now there are more than a hundred mosques in Paris alone. The number of converts to the Islamic faith in Paris, most of whom are white Parisians, exceeds a hundred thousand. On an average, about ten French men and women embrace Islam every week in Paris. With his profound erudition, his exceptionally affable temperament, his unassuming ways and his persuasive discourses he inspired thousands of Muslim students, intellectuals, youths and activists who looked upon him as a role model.
    Professor Hamidullah belonged to that rare and rapidly dwindling breed of Muslim scholars who carried on the tradition of their illustrious forebears with utmost sincerity, incredible selflessness and exemplary dedication. A highly self-respecting person, he did not accept any gifts from any one. His French translation of the Qur’an has sold millions of copies and the publisher has become a millionaire. Yet, he did not take a single franc by way of royalty. In 1987, the government of Pakistan presented him a cheque of US$ 25000 as a token of appreciation for his outstanding services to his cause of Islam. He promptly donated the money to the Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad. He was nominated for the prestigious King Faisal Award, but he declined it. Professor Hamidullah’s selflessness and complete detachment from worldly allurement was reminiscent of the example set by the Muslim scholars and sages of earlier times.
    Piety, humility and simplicity were conspicuous in Professor Hamidullah’s personality and character. He chose to remain a bachelor and led an extremely simple and Spartan life. He lived on a frugal meal of milk, rice, curd and fruits. For nearly fifty years, he lived in a small apartment on the fourth floor of an old building in Paris, where he had to climb 180 steps to reach his house. He fell seriously ill in 1996 and had to be hospitalized. He was taken to the US by his elder brother’s grand-daughter Sadida, who took good care of him and nursed him to recovery. His demise marks the passing of an illustrious and momentous era:

‘Discerning men for years will, with their forehead honour
The spot that bears the imprint of thy foot.’


Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah: Great Scholar, Simple Man

Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah, was born on February 9, 1908, in the state of Hyderabad Deccan in the Indian subcontinent. He was the youngest of 3 brothers and 5 sisters.

In Hyderabad, Dr. Hamidullah was educated at Darul-Uloom secondary school, Nizam College and Osmania University from where he obtained his MA and LLB degree in International Law. From 1933-35 he studied at several universities in Europe and obtained a doctorate from Bonn University in Germany. In 1936, he obtained a degree from the Sorbonne University, France. From 1936-46 he served on the faculty of Osmania University teaching International Law.

In 1946, he was appointed as member of the delegation sent by the Nizam of Hyderabad at the League of the Nations. After the 1948 invasion of Hyderabad by the Indian army, Hamidullah chose to live in exile in France. In 1948, he founded the Hyderabad Liberation Society to get Hyderabad recognized as an independent state. He decided to stay as a stateless person as long as the question of Hyderabad was still open in the United Nations.

In 1985, he was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award of Pakistan that includes a substantial monetary amount. He donated the award money to Islamic Research Academy, Islamabad.

He stayed in France till 1996, when he was forced to move to the USA because of illness. The professor never married. During the last few years of his life, he was being taken care of by the grand daughter of his brother, sister Sadida who left her job to devote herself to his care.

Professor Hamidullah's scholarship is unparalleled in the last century. He was fluent in 22 languages including Urdu, Arabic, French, English, etc. He learned Thai at the age of 84. He translated the Qur'an in French and many other languages. He also translated a number of other important Islamic books in many European languages. He gave lectures in various universities around the world, some of which have been published. His works on Islamic science, history and culture number more than 250. His books have been translated in many languages.

Some of his most famous books include "Introduction to Islam", "Muhammad Rasulullah", "The Battlefields of Prophet Muhammad", "The Muslim Conduct of State", and "The First Written Constitution."

The publication of Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbah proved, as has always been held, that the earliest manuscripts had been absorbed in the later compilations.

One of his great contributions to the hadith literature was the discovery of Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbah, the earliest hadith manuscript still extant today. Two copies of it were discovered; one in a Damascus library and the other in a library in Berlin. Dr. Hamidullah published it after carefully comparing the two manuscripts. This was an important discovery for the hadith scholars. It also proved, as has always been held, that the earliest manuscripts had been absorbed in the much bigger later compilations. Hammam bin Munabbah was a disciple of Syedna Abu Huraira, Radi-Allahu unhu. It was generally known that Sahifah Hammam bin Munabah had been completely included in the Musnad Ahmed. After the publication of the Sahifah by Dr. Hamidullah, hadith scholars searched Musnad Ahmed for the presence of the ahadith from the Sahifah. They found all 138 ahadith of the Sahifah in the Musnad. There was not the slightest discrepancy in any of them!

He wrote several researched treatise on the early life of Muslims. Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah was well known for the great quality and high caliber of his research in Islamic Law and history. He was recognized as one of the most authoritative scholars in Islamic International Law and Islamic Constitutional aw. At its initial stages, he was invited by the government of Pakistan to help draft the constitution of Pakistan.

This great scholar led a life of simplicity, patience and humility. He passed away in his sleep on December 17, 2002 at the age of 95 in Jacksonville, Florida.


              Nagib Mahfouz


Naguib MahfouzBorn in Cairo in 1911, Naguib Mahfouz began writing when he was seventeen. His first novel was published in 1939 and ten more were written before the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952, when he stopped writing for several years. One novel was republished in 1953, however, and the appearance of the Cairo Triology, Bayn al Qasrayn, Qasr al Shawq, Sukkariya (Between-the-Palaces, Palace of Longing, Sugarhouse) in 1957 made him famous throughout the Arab world as a depictor of traditional urban life. With The Children of Gebelawi (1959), he began writing again, in a new vein that frequently concealed political judgements under allegory and symbolism. Works of this second period include the novels, The Thief and the Dogs (1961), Autumn Quail (1962), Small Talk on the Nile (1966), and Miramar (1967), as well as several collections of short stories.

Until 1972, Mahfouz was employed as a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Mortmain Endowments, then as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art, as Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and, finally, as consultant on Cultural Affairs to the Ministry of Culture. The years since his retirement from the Egyptian bureaucracy have seen an outburst of further creativity, much of it experimental. He is now the author of no fewer than thirty novels, more than a hundred short stories, and more than two hundred articles. Half of his novels have been made into films which have circulated throughout the Arabic-speaking world. In Egypt, each new publication is regarded as a major cultural event and his name is inevitably among the first mentioned in any literary discussion from Gibraltar to the Gulf.


        pan islamism

 allama muhammad iqbal

Allama Mohammad Iqbal
Poems & Works

Most of Allama Iqbal's writings were devoted to a revival of Islam. In his presidential address to the Muslim League in 1930, he first suggested that the Muslims of northwestern India should demand a separate nation for themselves. Although many compilations of Iqbal's poetry also deliver his message very eloquently, his foremost book Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam was intended to secure a vision of the spirit of Islam as emancipated from its Magian overlayings.
He encouraged Muslims to embrace ideals of brotherhood, justice, and service. His masterpiece is 'The Song of Eternity' (1932). Similar in theme to Dante's 'Divine Comedy', it relates the poet's ascent through all realms of thought and experience, guided by the 13th-century poet Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi. He also wrote poetry in the Persian language. He tried to free the Muslim mind from the prevailing colonial mentality and from Muslims' own narrow self-interests, which is reflected in his classical work "Toloo-e-Islam" (Rise of Islam).

Prose Works by Dr. Muhammad Iqbal

The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930)
One of the great thinkers of this century, in this ground-breaking work, attempts to show a path back to the scientific and intellectual striving that Muslims once excelled in. Refuting the current methods of teaching as being from a generation of a cultural outlook different than that facing the modern mind, Iqbal calls for a reconstruction of thought, pointing to the fact that from the first to fourth century no less than nineteen schools of law appeared in Islam to meet the necessities of a growing civilization.

Religion vs. Philosophy-To Embrace or Exclude?
What is the character and general structures of the universe in which we live? Is there a permanent element in the constitution of this universe? How are we related to it? What place do we occupy in it, and what is the kind of conduct that benefits the place we occupy? These questions are common to religion, philosophy, and higher poetry.

The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908)
This was a thesis submitted to the University of Munich for his PhD. It was published in London in the same year. The book traces the development of metaphysics in Persia from the time of Zoroaster to Bahaullah.

Summary of Iqbal’s 1930 Presidential Address
"... I lead no party; I follow no leader. I have given the best part of my life to careful study of Islam, its law and polity, its culture, its history and its literature. This constant contact with the spirit of Islam, as it unfolds itself in time, has, I think, given me a kind of insight into the significance as a world fact."

Essays of Mohammad Iqbal


Baang-e-Dara (1924)
First written in Persian, Bang-i Dara (Caravan Bell) was translated into Urdu by popular demand. It is an anthology of poems written over a period of 20 years and is divided into 3 parts.

Baal-e-Jibraeel (1935)
Baal-e-Jibaeel (Gabriel's Wing) continues from Bang-i Dara. Some of the verses had been written when Iqbal visited Britain, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, France, Spain and Afghanistan. Contains 15 ghazals addressed to God and 61 ghazals and 22 quatrains dealing with the ego, faith, love, knowledge, the intellect and freedom.

Zarb-e-Kaleem (1936)
This, Iqbal's third collection of Urdu poems, has been described as his political manifesto. It was published with the subtitle "A Declaration of War Against the Present Times." Zarb-e-Kaleem (The Blow of Moses' Staff) was meant to rescue Muslims from the ills brought on by modern civilization, just as Moses had rescued the Israelites. English translation

Armaghan-i Hijaz (1938)
This work, published a few months after the poet's death, is a fairly small volume containing verses in both Persian and Urdu. The title means "Gift from the Hijaz." He had long wished to undertake the journey to the Arabian Peninsula to perform the Hajj and to visit the tomb of the Prophet, but was prevented from doing so by continuous illness during the last years of his life. English translation

The Ideal Woman
The Materialistic Culture
The shrine of your street is my refuge!
The ultimate aim of Ego
The world of Body vs. World of Soul
Our thought is the product of your teachings
Profit for one, but Death for many
Communism and Imperialism
The Glory of a Woman
The Choice is yours

Articles by Others on Iqbal's Works & Thought

Iqbal on the Material and Spiritual Future of Humanity
Iqbal's world view is based on his deep concern with the future of humanity as well as of religion. On the future of humanity his thoughts are scattered in his poetic works and some of his prose writings. But on the future of religion he has elaborated his ideas in the last chapter of his book: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, entitled "Is Religion Possible?"

Religion and Philosophy according to Iqbal
For Iqbal, religion is not something that is isolated from philosophy. He advocates an integration of the two, sometimes suggesting that the science of psychology has not reached an advanced enough level to be able to incorporate spiritual experience as part of a scientific theory of knowledge. Iqbal thinks, given adequate methods, the ultimate reality is within human grasp.

Iqbal, Quran and Muslim Unity
A reflection on Allama Iqbal's beautiful classical poem, "Tolu-e-Islam" (Rise of Islam). Muslim misery and suffering is as common today as it was in the days of Iqbal. Every day that passes brings more death and destruction to Muslims, only at a much wider scale. Observing the present situation in which Muslims find themselves today, Iqbal’s soul must be feeling extremely restless!


Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Allama Iqbal, great poet-philosopher and active political leader, was born at Sialkot, Punjab, in 1877. He descended from a family of Kashmiri Brahmins, who had embraced Islam about 300 years earlier.

Iqbal received his early education in the traditional maktab. Later he joined the Sialkot Mission School, from where he passed his matriculation examination. In 1897, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Government College, Lahore. Two years later, he secured his Masters Degree and was appointed in the Oriental College, Lahore, as a lecturer of history, philosophy and English. He later proceeded to Europe for higher studies. Having obtained a degree at Cambridge, he secured his doctorate at Munich and finally qualified as a barrister.

He returned to India in 1908. Besides teaching and practicing law, Iqbal continued to write poetry. He resigned from government service in 1911 and took up the task of propagating individual thinking among the Muslims through his poetr

By 1928, his reputation as a great Muslim philosopher was solidly established and he was invited to deliver lectures at Hyderabad, Aligarh and Madras. These series of lectures were later published as a book "The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam". In 1930, Iqbal was invited to preside over the open session of the Muslim League at Allahabad. In his historic Allahabad Address, Iqbal visualized an independent and sovereign state for the Muslims of North-Western India. In 1932, Iqbal came to England as a Muslim delegate to the Third Round Table Conference.

In later years, when the Quaid had left India and was residing in England, Allama Iqbal wrote to him conveying to him his personal views on political problems and state of affairs of the Indian Muslims, and also persuading him to come back. These letters are dated from June 1936 to November 1937. This series of correspondence is now a part of important historic documents concerning Pakistan's struggle for freedom.

On April 21, 1938, the great Muslim poet-philosopher and champion of the Muslim cause, passed away. He lies buried next to the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore.




Jamaluddin Afghani


    During the last thirteen centuries, whenever the world of Islam was plunged in the darkness of decadence, an outstanding personality emerged, who, by his illuminating achievements, dispelled the gloom encompassing it. One such personality was Jamaluddin Afghani, the harbinger of Muslim Renaissance in the 19th century. Being a wandering missionary, a versatile genius, an intellectual and an orator of the highest calibre, he brought about a universal awakening throughout the world of Islam. He moved about in the capitals of Muslim countries---lecturing, discussing and writing about his mission to bring about the unity of Muslims, leaving behind him a band of zealous workers, who continued his work even after his death. Several movements of religious revival and social reform owe their origin to Afghani and were started by his disciples who were deeply influenced by him. In fact, no other person has influenced the 19th century Islam more profoundly than him. Another great thinker of the East, Dr Iqbal, pays glowing tributes to Jamaluddin Afghani when he says: `A perfect master of nearly all the Muslim languages of the world and endowed with the most winning eloquence, his restless soul migrated from one Muslim country to another, influencing some of the most prominent men in Iran, Egypt and Turkey. Some of the greatest theologians of our time, such as Mufti Muhammad Abduh of Egypt, were his disciples. He wrote little, spoke much and thereby transformed into miniature Jamaluddins all those who came into contact with him...He never claimed to be a prophet or a renewer; yet no man in our time has stirred the soul of Islam more deeply than him. His spirit is still working in the world of Islam and no one knows where it will end.'  
     Syed Jamaluddin was born in 1838 at Asadabad (Afghanistan). His father Syed Safdar, a descendent of Syed Ali Al-Tirmizi, later migrated and settled in Kabul. Even at the early age of eight years, Jamaluddin exhibited extraordinary intelligence. Before he was 18, he was well versed in almost all the branches of Islamic learning including philosophy, jurisprudence, history, metaphysics, mathematics, medicine, sciences, mysticism, astronomy and astrology. His learning was encyclopaedic and his genius was versatile.  
      Having equipped himself thoroughly in diverse branches of western and oriental learning, he set out on his sacred mission of bringing about an awakening in the decaying world of Islam. He entered India when he was hardly 18 and roamed about in this country for more than a year, influencing those who came into contact with him. At this time, India was passing through a critical period of her history. It was a lull before the storm. The fire of native hatred against the tyrannical alien rule which had installed itself as the supreme power in the country through intrigues and conspiracies was smouldering slowly and at last burst forth in May, 1857 in the form of the first war of independence, in which the Indians made a united effort to throw off the alien yoke. At this time, when the storm of revolt had engulfed northern India. Jamaluddin Afghani was in Makkah, where he had gone for pilgrimage.  
     After perfoming Haj, he went to Kabul. Here he was welcomed by the Afghan ruler, Dost Muhammad, who bestowed upon him an exalted position in his government. He wielded much influence both among the Afghan intelligentsia and the masses. On the death of his patron, the throne of Kabul was occupied by Sher Ali who did not like the progressive ideas of Jamaluddin. He was, therefore, forced to leave Kabul.  
     Leaving Kabul, he proceeded again to Hejaz to perform the Holy Pilgrimage. He was not allowed to take the overland route via Persia. He had to travel through India. In 1869, when he entered India for the second time, he was honourably reeived by the government. But he was not allowed to meet the Indian leaders, except under the strict eyes of the government of India. The alien government which had a bitter taste of the national upheaval in 1857 was afraid of his revolutionary progressive ideas, and soon he was despatched in a government ship to Suez. He arrived in Cairo. Here he came into contact with the professors and students of Al-Azhar, who were much impressed by his deep erudition and high scholarship. He left an abiding impression of his progressive ideas on the intelligentsia of Egypt which, later appeared in the person of Muhammad Abduh. Instead of proceeding to Makkah, he went to Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire. His learned discourses soon made him extremely popular among the Turkish intelligentsia. During one of his lectures at the Constantinople University, the Sheikhul Islam, who had become jealous of his popularity raised a storm of objections against certain parts of his speech. This inspired agitation gained momentum and the Ottoman government had to order him to leave the capital for sometime. He, therefore, proceeded to Cairo, where he arrived for the second time in March, 1871.  
     During his stay in the Egyptian capital, Jamaluddin Afhani soon commanded great popularity and respect among the educated class. His learned discourses on Muslim philosophy, jurisprudence, religion and sciences couched in an impressive language and bearing a progressive outlook were listened to with rapt attention by his ever-increasing audience. His contacts and discourses fired a number of young progressive writers and scholars in Eygpt with a missionary zeal.  
     With the increasing popularity of his progressive ideas aimed at the unity of the Muslim world, the British, who happened to wield much political influence in Egypt at that time, smelled danger for their divide and rule policy. Their interest lay in the division of the Muslim world and not in its unity---in the narrow-minded nationalism rather than in the pan-Islamism preached by Afghani. The British saw a danger to their evil game. They instigtated the orthodox and out-of-date theologians, who raised a storm of agitation against him. This furnished an excuse to the British governor-general who, it is learnt, advised the Egyptian government to order the expulsion of Syed Jamaluddin from Egypt.  
     After a stay of about eight years in Egypt, Jamaludin Afghani left Cairo in March, 1879, and arrived in Hyderabad Deccan (India). Here he worte his famous treatise, "Refutation of the Materialists", which created a stir in the materialistic world.  
     During this period, nationalist revolt broke out in Egypt in 1882 and the Syed was suspected to have a hand in it. He was summoned to Calcutta by the government of India and interned there. He was, however, released when the nationalist struggle subsided in Egypt.  
     He left India and arrived in London, where after staying for a few days only he proceeded to Paris. There he met his life-long associate and disciple, Mufti Muhammad Abduh, who had been exiled from Egypt.  
     The two outstanding celebrities of the Muslim World started their famous Arabic Journal "Al Urwat-ul-Wuthqa", from Paris, It was an anti-British organ, whose scathing criticism and fiery articles created a furore in the imperialist circles and its entry was banned in India. Its expositions of the imperialist designs in the Muslim east terrified the western imperialists who viewed with alarm its growing popularity in the Arabic speaking world.  
     His activities were not confined to Paris only. He moved about in the continent, contacting important personalities and impressing them with the progressive outlook of Islam. He even went to London and had prolonged discussions on international relations with Lord Salisbury, a high dignitary of Britain. Wherever he went and whomsoever he met, he left a deep impression of his magnetic personality and winning eloquence.  
     Leaving London, he proceeded to Russia, visted Moscow and St. Petersburg and remained in that country for about four years. He wielded much influence in the intellectual circles of Czarist Russia and enjoyed the confidence of the Czar.  
    It was through his influence that the Muslims in Russia were permitted to print the Holy Quran and other religious books, whose publication was earlier banned in Czarist Russia. Here, in St. Petersburg, he met Shah Nasiruddin Qachar, the ruler of Persia. A little later, the Shah met Syed Jamaluddin in Munich, Germany, for the second time. He was so much impressed with his dynamic personality that he offered him the exalted position of Prime Ministership of Persia. The Syed hesitated, but yielded due to the extreme persuation of the Shah.  
    He arrived in Persia along with the Shah. Soon he began to enjoy great esteem of the Persian masses. His growing popularity among the intelligentsia created apprehension in the mind of the ruler. The Syed, being an extremely sensitive person, smelled this apprehension and sought permission to leave the country. But he was not allowed to do so.  
    Now there was hardly any course left to him. He openly criticised Shah Nasiruddin Qachar and his reign of terror. His vehement denunciation of the autocratic rule in Persia won around him many disciples. He was arrested and deported from Persia. But the fire which he had kindled in Persia could not be put out and culminated in the assassination of Shah Qachar on May, 1, 1895.  
    Syed Jamaluddin Afghani roamed about in Europe, until he arrived in London in 1891. In 1892, he proceeded to Constantinople where he was warmly received by the Ottoman Caliph. He was granted a monthly pension of 775 pounds and a free furnished residence. He continued to expose the tyrannical rule in Persia through the press until the Persian government appealed to the Ottoman ruler to put a stop to this ceaseless venomous propaganda. The Syed discontinued his scathing criticism of the Persian monarchy on a personal request of the Ottoman Caliph. But his words had done their work and, as stated earlier, the autocratic ruler of Persia was assassinated on May 1, 1885. The Persian government demanded four persons from the Ottoman government, whom they suspected of the conspiracy leading to the assassination of the ruler. One of them was Jamaluddin Afghani. The Ottoman government surrendered the remaining three but refused to surrender the Syed.  
    But Jamaluddin Aafghani was not destined to live long. He had an attack of cancer of the jaw in 1896 and died on March 9, 1897. He was burried with great honour in the Sheikh's cemetry near Nishan Tash.  
    Thus ended one of the most dynamic personalities of the age---one who made kings tremble.  
Jamaluddin Afghani was a great Muslim revolutionary and reformer who aimed at the unity of Muslim people all over the world. He wanted to make Islam a great force in the world. The imperialists, whose interest lay in the division of the world of Islam, were always conspiring aginst him and did not allow him the peaceful propagation of his mission. But the magnetic personality of Jamaluddin Afghani, his versatile genius, his sincerity and eloquence, deeply stirred those who came into contact with him and gave birth to nationalist and progressive movements in several Muslim countries.  
    Jamaluddin Aaghani was a linguist. He knew Arabic, Persian, Turkish, French, English and Russian. His extremely busy and turbulent life did not give him respite to settle down to the writing of books. But he wrote a number of pamphlets on diverse subjects in different languages. In fact, he stirred the spirit of Muslim intelligentsia all over the world and directed their hitherto dormant energies towards constructive channels. The East has much profited from the writings of his disciples.  
     As a man, Jamaluddin was humble, courteous, hard-working and amicable. He slept little, working for more than 18 hours a day. He received those who came to visit him with great courtesy. Writes Edward G. Browne, wuthor of the well known work, "A Literary History of Persia": `the humblest as much as the most distinguished, but was very chary of paying visits, especially to persons of high ranks, In speech, he was eloquent, always expressing himself in choice language, and avoiding colloquial and vulgar idioms, but carefully adopting his words to the capacity of his hearers. As a public speaker he had hardly a rival in the east'.  
    Regarding his other qualities Browne states: `He was abstemious in his life, caring little for the things of this world, bold and fearless in face of danger, frank and genial but hot tempered, affable towards all but independent in his dealings with the great. His intellectual powers and his quick insight and discernment were equally remarkable so that he seemed able to read men's thoughts before they had spoken.' About His versatility Browne writes: `His knowledge was extensive, and he was specially versed in ancient philosophy, the philosophy of history, the history and civilization of Islam, and learnt French in three months without a master, sufficiently well to read and translate...He knew the Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Afghani languages together with a little English and Russian. He was a voracious reader of Arabic and Persian books. He appears never to have married, and was indifferent to female charms.'  
    His influence throughout the east and specially in the world of Islam was indeed overwhelming. He was, to a great extent, responsible for the awakening of Muslims during the 19th century.  
     The contemporary high personalities of the east and the west vied with each other to win his favour. He was loved and respected by Muslim intelligentsia all over the world, but feared by the imperialist powers, who were afraid of his mission and growing influence. He raised up a living spirit in the hearts of his friends and disciples which stirred their energies and sharpened their pens, and the east has profited and will profit by their labours.  
        He was responsible directly or indirectly for the organization of several progressive and reformist movements all over the Islamic world, including the Nationalist and Modernist movement in Egypt, the movement of Union and Progress in Turkey, the Reform Movement in Persia, the Modernist and Khilafat movements of Muslim India. `It was really wonderful', writes Browne, `that a wandering scholar, with no material resources save only an eloquent tongue and a pen, literally made kings tremble on their thrones and defeated the well-laid plans of statesmen by setting in motion forces which he knew how to evoke and with which secular politicians, both European and Asiatic, had utterly failed to reckon.' 


Profile: Syed Jamal u din Afghan

Syed Jamal u din AfghaniSayyid Jamal al-Din Afghan is considered to be the founding father of Islamic modernism. He was born in Shair Garh, Kunar, Afghanstan in 1838 and received his early education in various religious schools near Kabul, Afghanstan and Qazwin and Tehran, Iran. At the age of seventeen or eighteen, he went to India (1855/6) to continue his studies.

During his stay in India until 1882, Afghan became closely acquainted with the positivistic ideas of Sayyid Ahmad Khan and wrote his famous The Truth about the Neichari Sect and an Explanation of the Necharis (Hakikat-i Madhhab-i Naychari wa Bayan-i Hal-i Naychariyan), first published in 1881 in Hyderabad, in rejection of S. A. Khan and his followers. The book was later translated by Muhammad ‘Abduh into Arabic and published as The Refutation of the Materialists (al-Radd ‘ala al-dahriyyin) in Beirut, 1886.

In 1870, he traveled to Egypt and Istanbul where he received a warm welcome from Ottoman officials and intellectuals who were instrumental in the creation of the Tanzimat reforms. Afghan went to Egypt for the second time and stayed there for the next eight years (1871-9) during which time he began to spread his philosophical and political ideas through his classes and public lectures.

At the beginning of 1883, Afghan spent a short time in London and then went to Paris. In Paris, Afghan begun to publish his famous journal al-‘Urwat al-wuthqa’ (“The Firmest Robe” – a title taken from the Qur’an) with the close collaboration of his friend and student Muhammad ‘Abduh whom he had invited from Lebanon to Paris. Due to a number of difficulties, al-‘Urwah was discontinued in September 1884 after eighteen issues. Through his essays and especially his polemic against Ernest Renan, a French historian, philosopher and positivist, Afghan established considerable fame for himself in the Parisian intellectual circles.

In 1886, he was invited by Shah Nasir al-Din to Iran and offered the position of special adviser to the Shah, which he accepted. Afghan, however, was critical of Shah’s policies on the question of political participation. This difference of opinion forced Afghan to leave Iran for Russia (1886 to 1889). In 1889 on his way to Paris, Afghan met Shah Nasir al-Din in Munich and was offered the position of grand vizier. But Afghan’s unabated criticisms of the rule and conduct of the Shah led to his eventual deportation from Iran in the winter of 1891. Afghan was later implicated in the murder of Shah Nasir al-Din in 1896.

Afghan spent the last part of his life in Istanbul under the patronage and, later, surveillance of Sultan ‘Abd al-Hamid II. The demands for Afghan’s extradition by the Iranian officials for his alleged involvement in the assassination of Shah Nasir al-Din were rejected by ‘Abd al-Hamid who, most probably, collaborated with Afghan for the implementation of his political program of pan-Islamism or Islamic unity (ittihad-i islam). To this end, Afghan sent a number of letters to various Islamic countries and leaders to mobilize and unite them against the British rule while at the same time trying to establish the foundations of a mutual rapprochement between the Sunnis and the Shi`ites. According to some historians, ‘Abd al-Hamid grew suspicious of Afghan’s meetings with some Arab leaders and the British officials in Istanbul and did not permit him to leave the country.

Afghan died of cancer in March 9, 1897 and was buried in Istanbul.

Afghan’s career as a thinker and activist has had a deep impact on the Islamic world and continues to be a source of inspiration and controversy for many today. Afghan’s project of Islamic modernism that he developed in his lectures, polemics, short essays, and newspaper columns was based on the idea of finding a modus vivendi between traditional Islamic culture and the philosophical and scientific challenges of the modern West. It would not be wrong to say that Afghan took a middle position between blind Westernization and its wholesale rejection by the traditional ‘ulama’.

His basic assumption was shared by the whole generation of the 19th century Muslim thinkers and activists: modern Western science and technology are essentially separable from the ethos and manners of European nations and can and should be acquired by the Islamic world without necessarily accepting the theological and philosophical consequences emerging from their application in the Western context. As we shall see below, Afghan’s views on science should be understood in the light of this general program of Islamic ‘reform’ or renewal (islah or tajdid).

Afghan’s political program of pan-Islamism (ittihad-i islam) sought to mobilize Muslim nations to fight against Western imperialism and gain military power through modern technology. Afghan’s call for the independence of individual Muslim nations has been a key factor in the development of the so-called “Islamic nationalism” and influenced such Muslim figures as Muhammad Iqbal, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Abu’l Kalam Azad in the Indian subcontinent and Namik Kemal, Said Nursi and Mehmet Akif Ersoy in the Ottoman Turkey.

Later in the 20th century, Afghan became a major source of inspiration for such revivalist movements as the Muslim Brethren of Egypt and the Jama`at-i Islami of Pakistan. In many ways, Afghan continues to be hailed by various Islamic activist groups as an important example of the activist-scholar type in the Islamic world. Afghan had also a deep impact on many Egyptian thinkers including Muhammad ‘Abduh, Rashid Rida, ‘Ali ‘Abd al-Raziq, Qasim Amin, Lutfi al-Sayyid and Osman Amin.

As a public intellectual and activist, Afghan articulated and expressed most of his ideas through his lectures and wrote very little. He published only two books in his lifetime. One is a history of Afghanstan and the other his famous refutation of naturalism and materialism, which he singled out as the most urgent threat to humanity in general and to the Islamic world in particular. It is worth noting that Afghan’s only published book of intellectual substance is directly related to the question of religion and science. Although very short, Afghan’s letter to Ernest Renan in response to his celebrated lecture at Sorbonne given in 1883, in which Renan openly attacked Islam as an obstacle to philosophy and science, is another important document for the understanding of Afghan’s position on Islam and modern science.

In The Refutation of the Materialists, Afghan gives a scathing criticism of the naturalist/materialist position from the scientific, philosophical, ethical, and social points of view. He identifies the materialists as the epitome of evil intent on destroying human civilization. He traces the history of modern materialism to the Greek materialists, among whom he mentions Democritus, Epicurus, and Diogenes the Cynic. This short historical survey is followed by a scientific and philosophical criticism of Darwin and his evolutionary theory. Afghan rejects the idea of chance in nature and accuses the materialists of attributing “perception and intelligence” to atoms (i.e., matter) in and of themselves. He rejects totally the idea of universe as a self-regulating structure without a higher intelligence operating on it. This is without doubt the most philosophical section of the treatise.

Afghan then moves to his social and ethical criticism of the materialists. According to him, the materialists are intent to undermine the very foundations of human society. They try to destroy the “castle of happiness” based on the six pillars of religion. These six pillars are divided into three beliefs and three qualities. The first belief is that man is a terrestrial angel, i.e., he is God’s vicegerent on earth. The second belief is that one’s community is the noblest one both in the sense of belonging to the human world against the animal and plant kingdoms, and in the sense of belonging to the best human and religious society. This inherent exclusivism, for Afghan, is the most important motive for the global race of goodness, which lies at the heart of all world civilizations. The third belief or doctrine that religion teaches is that man is destined to reach the highest world, i.e., his innate ability to transcend the merely material and realize the spiritual within himself.

In addition, religion inculcates three ethical qualities in its followers. The first quality is what Afghan calls “modesty” (haya’), that is, the modesty of the soul to commit sin against God and his fellowmen. The nobility of the soul increases in proportion to the degree of its modesty. Afghan considers this quality to be the most essential element for the ethical and social regulation of society. The second quality is trustworthiness, which underlies the very fabric of a society. The survival of human civilization is contingent upon mutual respect and trust, without which no society can have political stability and economic prosperity. The third quality promulgated by religion is truthfulness and honesty, which, for Afghan, is the foundation of social life and solidarity.

Through these six pillars, Afghan establishes religion as the foundation of civilization and denounces materialism as the enemy of religion and human society. To stress this central point, Afghan mentions the Batinis and the Babis as followers of naturalism/materialism in the Islamic world. He also mentions Rousseau and Voltaire as modern materialists and uses a very strong language in condemning their “sensualism” and anti-moralism. He even goes so far as to classify socialists, communists and nihilists as nothing other than mere variations of materialism in the ethical sense of the term. He holds the materialists responsible for the destruction of such great nations in history as the Persian, Roman, and Ottoman Empires. Since the materialist does not recognize any reality other than gross matter and ‘sensuality’, he paves the way for the reign of passions and desires. In this sense, the materialist is immersed in the worst kind of metaphysical and ethical mistake and cannot be trusted even on a purely human level.

In the last part of the treatise, Afghan turns to religion and, among religions, to Islam as the only way to salvation for humanity. He compares Islam to other world religions and asserts its superiority, implying that Islam is the only religion to cope with the challenges of the modern world. It is worth noting that Afghan concludes his treatise with a short statement that has become the hallmark of Islamic modernism:

If someone says: If the Islamic world is as you say, then why are the Muslims in such a sad condition? I will answer: When they were [truly] Muslims, they were what they were and the world bears witness to their excellence. As for the present, I will content myself with this holy text: “Verily, God does not change the state of a people until they change themselves inwardly”. (Keddie, An Islamic Response to Imperialism, p. 173)



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Dr Iqbal, pays glowing tributes to Jamaluddin Afghani when he says: `A perfect master of nearly all the Muslim languages of the world and endowed with the most winning eloquence, his restless soul migrated from one Muslim country to another...


During the last thirteen centuries, whenever the world of Islam was plunged in the darkness of decadence, an outstanding personality emerged, who, by his illuminating achievements, dispelled the gloom encompassing it. One such personality was Jamaluddin Afghani, the harbinger of Muslim Renaissance in the 19th century. Being a wandering missionary, a versatile genius, an intellectual and an orator of the highest calibre, he brought about a universal awakening throughout the world of...