Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī
Sayyid Jamaluddin ibn Safdar
1254 AH/ 1839
|Died||9 March 1897 (aged 58)|
|Cause of death||Cancer of the jaw|
|Resting place||Kabul, Afghanistan|
|Notable idea(s)||Pan-Islamism, Sunni-Shia unity, Hindu-Muslim unity|
Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī : سید جمالالدین افغانی), also known as Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn Asadābādī (Persian : سید جمالالدین اسدآبادی) and commonly known as Al-Afghani (1838/1839 – 9 March 1897), was a political activist and Islamic ideologist who travelled throughout the Muslim world during the late 19th century. He is one of the founders of Islamic Modernism as well as an advocate of Pan-Islamic unity in Europe and Hindu-Muslim unity in India, he has been described as being less interested in minor differences in Islamic jurisprudence than he was in organizing a united response to Western pressure.(Persian
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. It is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajik Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of Cyrillic.
Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, claimed to be the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.
An ideology is a collection of normative beliefs and values that an individual or group holds for other than purely epistemic reasons. In other words, these rely on basic assumptions about reality that may or may not have any factual basis. The term is especially used to describe systems of ideas and ideals which form the basis of economic or political theories and resultant policies. In these there are tenuous causal links between policies and outcomes owing to the large numbers of variables available, so that many key assumptions have to be made. In political science the term is used in a descriptive sense to refer to political belief systems
As indicated by his nisba, al-Afghani claimed to be of Afghan origin. His true national and sectarian background have been a subject of controversy.According to one theory and his own account, he was born in Asadābād, near Kabul, in Afghanistan. Another theory, championed by Nikki R. Keddie and accepted by a number of modern scholars, holds that he was born and raised in a Shia family in Asadabad, near Hamadan, in Iran. Supporters of the latter theory view his claim to an Afghan origin as motivated by a desire to gain influence among Sunni Muslims or escape oppression by the Iranian ruler Nāṣer ud-Dīn Shāh. One of his main rivals, the sheikh Abū l-Hudā, called him Mutaʾafghin ("the one who claims to be Afghan") and tried to expose his Shia roots. Keddie also asserts that al-Afghānī used and practiced taqīa and ketmān , ideas more prevalent in the Iranian Shiʿite world.
In Arabic names, a nisba is an adjective indicating the person's place of origin, tribal affiliation, or ancestry, used at the end of the name and occasionally ending in the suffix -iyy(ah). Nisbah is originally an Arabic word that was passed to many other languages such as Turkish, Persian and Urdu.
Asadabad or Asad Abad is the capital city of Kunar Province in Afghanistan. It is located in the eastern portion of the country adjacent to Pakistan. The city is located within a valley at the confluence of the Pech River and Kunar River between two mountain ridgelines running along both sides of the valley from Northeast to Southwest.
Asadabad is a city and capital of Asadabad County, Hamadan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 51,304, in 12,583 families.
He was educated first at home and then taken by his father for further education to Qazvin, to Tehran, and finally, while he was still a youth, to the Shi'a shrine cities in present-day Iraq (then-part of Ottoman Empire).It is thought that followers of Shia revivalist Shaikh Ahmad Ahsa'i had an influence on him. Other names adopted by Al-Afghani were al-Kābulī ("[the one] from Kabul") Asadabadi, Sadat-e Kunar ("Sayyids of Kunar") and Hussain. Especially in his writings published in Afghanistan, he also used the pseudonym ar-Rūmī ("the Roman" or "the Anatolian").
Qazvin is the largest city and capital of the Province of Qazvin in Iran. Qazvin was a medieval capital of the Safavid dynasty for over forty years (1555-1598) and nowadays is known as the calligraphy capital of Iran. It is famous for its Baghlava, carpet patterns, poets, political newspaper and Pahlavi influence on its accent. At the 2011 census, its population was 381,598.
Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 24th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.
Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.
At the age of 17 or 18 in 1855–56, Al-Afghani travelled to British India and spent a number of years there studying religions. In 1859, a British spy reported that Al-Afghani was a possible Russian agent. The British representatives reported that he wore traditional cloths of Noghai Turks in Central Asia and spoke Persian, Arabic and Turkish fluently.After this first Indian tour, he decided to perform Hajj or pilgrimage at Mecca. His first documents are dated from Autumn of 1865, where he mentions leaving the "revered place" (makān-i musharraf) and arriving in Tehran around mid-December of the same year. In the spring of 1866 he left Iran for Afghanistan, passing through Mashad and Herat.
The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also more formally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.
The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
A Special Agent, in the United States, is usually a criminal investigator or detective for a federal or state government, who primarily serves in investigatory positions. Additionally, many federal and state "Special Agents" operate in "criminal intelligence" based roles as well. Within the US federal law enforcement system, dozens of federal agencies employ federal law enforcement officers, each with different criteria pertaining to the use of the titles Special Agent and Agent.
After the Indian stay, all sources have Afghānī next take a leisurely trip to Mecca, stopping at several points along the way. Both the standard biography and Lutfallāh's account take Afghānī's word that he entered Afghan government service before 1863, but since documents from Afghanistan show that he arrived there only in 1866, we are left with several years unaccounted for. The most probable supposition seems to be that he may have spent longer in India than he later said, and that after going to Mecca he travelled elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire. When he arrived in Afghanistan in 1866 he claimed to be from Constantinople, and he might not have made this claim if he had never even seen the city, and could be caught in ignorance of it.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known to its inhabitants and the Eastern world as Rome (Rûm), and known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.— Nikki R. Keddie, 1983
He was spotted in Afghanistan in 1866 and spent time in Qandahar, Ghazni, and Kabul.He became a counsellor to the King Dost Mohammad Khan (who died, however, on 9 June 1863) and later to Mohammad Azam. At that time he encouraged the king to oppose the British but turn to the Russians. However, he did not encourage Mohammad Azam to any reformist ideologies that later were attributed to Al-Afghani. Reports from the colonial British Indian and Afghan government stated that he was a stranger in Afghanistan, and spoke the Dari language with an Iranian accent and followed European lifestyle more than that of Muslims, not observing Ramadan or other Muslim rites. In 1868, the throne of Kabul was occupied by Sher Ali Khan, and Al-Afghani was forced to leave the country.
Kandahār or Qandahār is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 557,118. Kandahar is located in the south of the country on the Arghandab River, at an elevation of 1,010 m (3,310 ft). It is the capital of Kandahar Province, and also the center of the larger cultural region called Loy Kandahar. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom and turned Kandahar into the capital of the Hotak dynasty. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani dynasty, made Kandahar the capital of the Afghan Empire.
Ghazni historically known as Ghaznin or Ghazna, is a city in central Afghanistan with a population of around 270,000 people. The city is strategically located along Highway 1, which has served as the main road between Kabul and southern Afghanistan for thousands of years. Situated on a plateau at 2,219 metres (7,280 ft) above sea level, the city is 150 km south of Kabul and is the capital of Ghazni Province.
Dost Mohammad Khan was the founder of the Barakzai dynasty and one of the prominent rulers of Afghanistan during the First Anglo-Afghan War. With the decline of the Durrani dynasty, he became Emir of Afghanistan from 1826 to 1839 and then from 1843 to 1863. An ethnic Pashtun, he was the 11th son of Sardar Payendah Khan who was killed in 1799 by Zaman Shah Durrani. Dost Mohammad's grandfather was Hajji Jamal Khan.
He travelled to Constantinople, passing through Cairo on his way there. He stayed in Cairo long enough to meet a young student who would become a devoted disciple of his, Muhammad 'Abduh. [ citation needed ] He also founded a masonic lodge in Cairo and became its first Master.[ citation needed ] He had been excluded from the Grand Lodge of Scotland due to accusations of atheism and he joined the French Grand Orient.[ citation needed ]He entered Star of East masonic lodge on 7 July 1868 while staying in Cairo. His membership number was 1355.
According to K. Paul Johnson, in The Masters Revealed, H.P. Blavatsky’s masters were actually real people, and “Serapis Bey” was Jamal Afghani, as a purported leader of an order named the “Brotherhood of Luxor”.Afghani was introduced to the Star of the East Lodge, of which he became the leader, by its founder Raphael Borg, British consul in Cairo, who was in communication with Blavatsky. Afghani’s friend, a Jewish-Italian actor from Cairo named James Sanua, who with his girlfriend Lydia Pashkov and their friend Lady Jane Digby were travel companions of Blavatsky. As concluded by Joscelyn Godwin in The Theosophical Enlightenment, “If we interpret the ‘Brotherhood of Luxor’ to refer to the coterie of esotericists and magicians that Blavatsky knew and worked with in Egypt, then we should probably count Sanua and Jamal ad-Din as members.”
In the early 1860s, he was in Central Asia and the Caucasus when Blavatsky was in Tbilisi. In the late 1860s he was in Afghanistan until he was expelled and returned to India. He went to Istanbul and was again expelled in 1871, when he proceeded to Cairo, where his circle of disciples was similar to Blavatsky’s Brotherhood of Luxor. Afghani was forced to leave Egypt and settled in Hyderabad, India, in 1879, the year the Theosophical Society’s founders arrived in Bombay. He then left India and spent a short time in Egypt before arriving in Paris in 1884. The following year he proceeded to London, and then on to Russia where he collaborated with Blavatsky’s publisher, Mikhail Katkov.
In 1871, Al-Afghani moved to Egypt and began preaching his ideas of political reform. His ideas were considered radical, and he was exiled in 1879. He then travelled to Constantinople, London, Paris, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Munich.
In 1884, he began publishing an Arabic newspaper in Paris entitled al-Urwah al-Wuthqa ("The Indissoluble Link" [ citation needed ]) with Muhammad Abduh; the title (Arabic: العروة الوثقى), sometimes translated as "The Strongest Bond", is taken from the Quran – chapter 2, verse 256. The newspaper called for a return to the original principles and ideals of Islam, and for greater unity among Islamic peoples. He argued that this would allow the Islamic community to regain its former strength against European powers.
Al-Afghani was invited by Shah Nasser ad-Din to come to Iran and advise on affairs of government, but fell from favour quite quickly and had to take sanctuary in a shrine near Tehran. After seven months of preaching to admirers from the shrine, he was arrested in 1891, transported to the border with Ottoman Mesopotamia, and evicted from Iran. Although Al-Afghani quarrelled with most of his patrons, it is said he "reserved his strongest hatred for the Shah," whom he accused of weakening Islam by granting concessions to Europeans and squandering the money earned thereby. His agitation against the Shah is thought to have been one of the "fountain-heads" of the successful 1891 protest against the granting a tobacco monopoly to a British company, and the later 1905 Constitutional Revolution.
Al-Afghani's ideology has been described as a welding of "traditional" religious antipathy toward non-Muslims "to a modern critique of Western imperialism and an appeal for the unity of Islam", urging the adoption of Western sciences and institutions that might strengthen Islam.
Although called a liberal by the contemporary English admirer, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt,Jamal ad-Din did not advocate constitutional government. In the volumes of the newspaper he published in Paris, "there is no word in the paper's theoretical articles favoring political democracy or parliamentarianism," according to his biographer. Jamal ad-Din simply envisioned "the overthrow of individual rulers who were lax or subservient to foreigners, and their replacement by strong and patriotic men."
Blunt, Jane Digby and Sir Richard Burton, were close with Abdul Qadir al Jazairi (1808 – 1883), an Algerian Islamic scholar, Sufi and military leader. In 1864, the Lodge “Henry IV” extended an invitation to him to join Freemasonry, which he accepted, being initiated at the Lodge of the Pyramids in Alexandria, Egypt.Blunt had supposedly become a convert to Islam under the influence of al-Afghani, and shared his hopes of establishing an Arab Caliphate based in Mecca to replace the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul. When Blunt visited Abdul Qadir in 1881, he decided that he was the most promising candidate for “Caliphate,” an opinion shared by Afghani and his disciple, Mohammed Abduh.
According to another source Al-Afghani was greatly disappointed by the failure of the Indian Mutiny and came to three principal conclusions from it:
Al-Afghani held that Hindus and Muslims should work together to overthrow British rule in India, a view rehashed by Maulana Syed Husain Ahmad Madani in Composite Nationalism and Islam five decades later.
He believed that Islam and its revealed law were compatible with rationality and, thus, Muslims could become politically unified while still maintaining their faith based on a religious social morality. These beliefs had a profound effect on Muhammad Abduh, who went on to expand on the notion of using rationality in the human relations aspect of Islam (mu'amalat) .
In 1881 he published a collection of polemics titled Al-Radd 'ala al-Dahriyyi (Refutation of the Materialists), agitating for pan-Islamic unity against Western imperialism. It included one of the earliest pieces of Islamic thought arguing against Darwin's then-recent On the Origin of Species ; however, his arguments allegedly incorrectly caricatured evolution, provoking criticism that he had not read Darwin's writings.In his later work Khatirat Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani ("The memoir of Al-Afghani"), he accepted the validity of evolution, asserting that the Islamic world had already known and used it. Although he accepted abiogenesis and the evolution of animals, he rejected the theory that the human species is the product of evolution, arguing that humans have souls.
Among the reasons why Al-Afghani was thought to have had a less than deep religious faithwas his lack of interest in finding theologically common ground between Shia and Sunni (despite the fact that he was very interested in political unity between the two groups). For example, when he moved to Istanbul he disguised his Shi'i background by labeling himself "the Afghan".
He was invited by Abdulhamid II in 1892 to Istanbul. He traveled there with diplomatic immunity from the British Embassy, which raised many eyebrows, but nevertheless was granted a house and salary by the Sultan. Abdulhamid II's aim was using Afghani for Pan Islamism propagation. Al-Afghani died of throat cancer on 9 March 1897 in Istanbul and was buried there. In late 1944, due to the request of the Afghan government, his remains were taken to Afghanistan and laid in Kabul inside the Kabul University; a mausoleum was erected for him there.
In Afghanistan, a university is named after him ( Syed Jamaluddin Afghan University ) in Kabul. There is also street in the center of Kabul which is called by the name Afghani. In other parts of Afghanistan, there are many places like hospitals, schools, Madrasas, Parks, and roads named Jamaluddin Afghan.
In Tehran, the capital of Iran, there is a square and a street named after him (Asad Abadi Square and "Asad Abadi Avenue" in Yusef Abad)
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Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī [...] Two competing theories have been proposed about Afghānī’s place of birth; questions regarding his nationality and sect have become a source of long-standing controversy. Those who claim that he was Persian and Shīʿī argue that he was born in Hemedan, Iran. Nikki Keddie writes: "both the British Foreign Office and the US Department of State at different times launched independent investigations to determine the question of Afghani's birthplace, and both decided unequivocally that he was Iranian.". There is little evidence to prove this claim, other than the fact that Afghānī’s father spent some time in Iran and that Afghānī was well-versed in traditional Islamic philosophy. The other theory holds that he was born in a village called Asadābād near Kabul, Afghanistan.
Despite his claim to Afghan origin—whence his name—overwhelming evidence shows that al-Afghānī was born and raised in Iran of a Shīʿī family. [...] Sunnī Muslims are often reluctant to admit that al-Afghānī was raised in Shīʿī Iran. Al-Afghānī apparently feared the repercussions of an Iranian identification. Moreover, he knew he would have less influence in the Sunnī world if he were thought to be from Shīʿī Iran.
In 1897 al-Afghānī died of cancer of the jaw. No evidence supports the story that he was poisoned by the sultan. In 1944, his remains were transferred to Kabul, Afghanistan, and a mausoleum was erected there.
In Hyderabad 1880-81 Afḡānī published six Persian articles in the journal Moʿallem-e šafīq, which were reprinted in Urdu and Persian in various editions of Maqālāt-e Jamālīya. The three major themes of these articles are: 1. advocacy of linguistic or territorial nationalism, with an emphasis upon the unity of Indian Muslims and Hindus, not of Indian Muslims and foreign Muslims; 2. the benefits of philosophy and modern science; and 3. attacks on Sayyed Aḥmad Khan as a tool of the British. On nationalism, he writes in “The Philosophy of National Unity and the Truth about Unity of Language” that linguistic ties are stronger and more durable than religious ones (he was to make exactly the opposite point in the pan-Islamic al-ʿOrwat al-woṯqā a few years later). In India he felt the best anti-imperialist policy was Hindu-Muslim unity, while in Europe he felt it was pan-Islam.
Seyyed Jamaluddin Afghani [...] was born in 1838 at Asadabad near the Afghan-Persian border. He was called a Seyyed because his family claimed descent from the family of the Prophet through Imam Husayn. The title of ‘Afghani’ refers to his Afghan-Persian heritage, and served usefully to identify him more broadly than as a Persian. This would have identified him with the Shi'a and limited his influence in the Islamic world.
Afghani was born in Iran
Much before Madani, Jamaluddin Afghani argued that Hindus and Muslims must come together to overthrow the British. Husain Ahmad would argue the same thing after five decades.
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