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Biographical Data :

Name :Jamal Al Din Al Afghani
Period :1839 - 1897
Biographical detail : An itinerant activist railing against the feebleness and injustices of Oriental despotisms and the immorality of Western imperialism, and trying to forge a Pan-Islamic movement.

Al-Afghani was one of the greatest thinkerís revivalistís leaders of the modern Muslim world and the founder of Pan-Islamism. "He had an effective pen, encyclopaedia knowledge, profound political understanding and nothing but his attachment to Islam". In his wide travel wherever he went he was aware of the ubiquitous power of the West and he was convinced that it would soon dominate and crush the Muslim world. He urged Muslims to come to the scientific culture of the new world on their own terms and cultivate their own cultural traditions.

Al-Afghani first joined the Afghan government as an advisor and brought reforms in education, removed the ills of the postal system, organised the army and took initiative in opening diplomatic missions of his country in foreign lands.

However, due to the change of power in Afghanistan, al-Afghani had to move into India and then to Egypt. He came to India, at the time of the great mutiny against British rule in 1857. He visited Hyderabad and advised the Nizam to conduct the education at Osmania University in Urdu.

Al-Afghani gave lectures at Al Azhar University and made many disciples in Egypt including the future statesman, Zaghlul Pasha. Al-Afghani believed that Islam itself must respond to the changed conditions and become more rational and modern. But the British did not like his influence there and caused him to leave.

Al-Afghani arrived in Istanbul in 1870. The eloquent speeches of Jamal Al-Afghani created a profound influence on the Turks and among his followers there such as Tahsin Affandi, Hanif Pasha etc. But his enemies outnumbered his well wishers and he had to leave Turkey.

In 1871 al-Afghani again came to Cairo. Khedive Ismail Pasha of Egypt was an extravagant man. Al-Afghani urged his followers to back Taufiq and replace Ismail Pasha. But Taufiq proved no better and Al-Afghani was expelled from Cairo.

Al-Afghani went to London and thereafter to Paris and continued his efforts for the Pan-Islamic movement. In 1889, he persuaded the Czar of Russia to publish and distribute copies of the Qurían in Russia.

Al-Afghani came to Iran but as he was against the Shah Qachar, and his political campaigns suffered a set back when, in 1896, one of his disciples assassinated the Shah of Iran. Hence al-Afghani was forcibly turned out from there.

When al-Afghani came to Turkey, Sultan Abdul Hamid first welcomed him, but later, because of the influence of his foes, he was put him in confinement where he died.

Jamal Al Din Al Afghani who was born at Asadabad and who remained unmarried devoted his entire life for the cause of Islam.
 (Compiler : M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin)

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