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
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
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
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
It was on such an occasion - an interview in February 1984 - that he
first made the claim that Pakistan had achieved nuclear weapons
A. Q. Khan talking to journalists on 31 May 1998 after the second nuclear test.
A. Q. Khan displaying his gold medal awarded by Pakistani President Rafiq Tarrar in Lahore after the 1998 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
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.
After receiving his
early education in Bhopal, Dr Abdul Quadeer Khan obtained the degree
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
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.
Infobox_Scientist 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 =
ProfDrSalimuzzaman Siddiqui (Urdu سلیم الزّماںصدّیقی; pronounced|səliːmʊzəmã sɪðiqi) (19 October 1897 - 14 April 1994) was a leading Pakistani scientist in natural productschemistry. 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.
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 CollegeDelhi, 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 MinisterLiaquat 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.]
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 dilutealcohol. 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.
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.
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 UniversityGraveyard.
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.
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
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.
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
A short biography of Adnan Oktar:
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
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
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
NAME AND FAMILY
1. Nugay Kaplanov and family
2. Yusuf Ali Aysoltanov and family
3. BESLEN ARSLAN KASAYEV 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
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.
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
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
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.
THE FIRST PAMPHLET TO DEAL DARWINISM
A BODY BLOW
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.
SPREADING RELIGIOUS MORAL VALUES
AT MIMAR SINAN UNIVERSITY
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.
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
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.
THE FIRST SMEAR CAMPAIGN AND TORTURE IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL
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
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.
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
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.
TO SEE THE GATA REPORT CONFIRMING ADNAN OKTAR’S SANITY BELOW
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
set up by the Brahman vizier Mahmud Gawan, were among his illustrious
ancestors. Professor Hamidullah’s great grandfather
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,
fi Rasm Nazmi’l-Qur’an, in seven volumes. Professor
maternal grandfather, Qadi Muhammad Sibghatullah
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,
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
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
he passed the examination for the degree for Mawlvi Kamil
in 1924. His father had misgivings about Western education. Aware of his
father’s antipathy towards English education, the young Hamidullah
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
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
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
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
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
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
interest in the translation and interpretation of the Qur’an
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
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
7. Kitabu’l-Nabat, by Abu Hanifah al-Dinawari
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
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
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
‘Discerning men for years will, with their forehead
The spot that bears the imprint of thy foot.’
Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah: Great Scholar, Simple Man
Posted: 16 Shawwal 1423, 21 December 2002
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
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."
publication of Sahifa Hammam bin Munabbah proved, as has always been
held, that the earliest manuscripts had been absorbed in the later
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
Born 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
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 &
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
Prose Works by Dr.
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
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."
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.
(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.
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
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
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?"
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
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
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
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
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.
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.'
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.
himself thoroughly in diverse branches of western and oriental
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
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
period of her history. It was a lull before the storm. The fire of
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
criticism and fiery articles created a furore in the imperialist
and its entry was banned in India. Its expositions of the imperialist
in the Muslim east terrified the western imperialists who viewed with
its growing popularity in the Arabic speaking world.
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.
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
Czarist Russia. Here, in St. Petersburg, he met Shah Nasiruddin Qachar,
the ruler of Persia. A little later, the Shah met Syed Jamaluddin in
Germany, for the second time. He was so much impressed with his dynamic
personality that he offered him the exalted position of Prime
of Persia. The Syed hesitated, but yielded due to the extreme
of the Shah.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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'.
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.'
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.
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.'
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.
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
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
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,
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,
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)
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...